Earlier this month, Facebook unveiled a new Messenger for Kids on the iOS platform. Currently, this is one of those social media apps that’s only available through Apple, but there is an Android version in the works. However, a lot of parents have mixed feelings about the app.
Facebook has always restricted its site to users who are 13 years old or older. That doesn’t necessarily stop kids younger than 13 from using it. But according to Facebook’s terms of service, anyone who signs up for an account has to sign an agreement that they meet this requirement.
Facebook Messenger For Kids, on the other hand, deliberately targets kids as young as 6 years old. It was specifically designed for kids between the ages of 6 and 12. Like many other social media apps, it has emojis, filters, and stickers that appeal to children. It also has many of the same capabilities as regular Facebook Messenger, like photo taking and video chatting. However, in this kid-friendly version, it’s impossible to make in-app purchases.
In order to make the Messenger For Kids app safe, Facebook has jumped through a lot of hoops. Kids can’t be found in a regular Facebook search, and they can’t add friends on their own. Only their parents can add friends for them, as long as those friends are within the parent’s social media circle.
How It Works
So this is how Messenger For Kids works. A parent logs into their own Facebook account and set up a Messenger For Kids account for their child. They need to verify their information in order to add them. Then they can approve anyone on their friends list as a contact. So grandparents, cousins, and other relatives can be added to their child’s Messenger For Kids. After the parent adds the child, they are supposed let them use the device so they can customize their interface with colors, photos, stickers, and more.
In order to add their child’s friend to their Messenger, the parent needs to add the other child’s parent as a Facebook friend. From there, the other parent needs to accept, and then the two parents can add their children to each others’ Kids app friends list. It’s a clunky process, but unlike other social media apps, it prevents kids from adding people they don’t know as friends.
The question is, does a 6 year old really need to be chatting on Facebook Messenger? Parents who like the app say that it makes it easier to do group and family chats. Meanwhile, others say that it’s just a ploy by Facebook to get their children hooked on social media apps at an early age. Parents, what do you think of Facebook Messenger For Kids? Do you want your children using it?