Facebook Messenger for Kids is a video chat and messaging app that helps children connect with friends and family in a fun, parent-controlled space. There are several things to consider when it comes to introducing your child to social media. Below are 5 things you need to know about Facebook Messenger for kids.
What is Facebook Messenger for Kids
Messenger Kids has been designed for children between the ages of 6 to 12 years, with the app including two new features aimed at helping kids connect with their friends and family. Available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Child-friendly filters, reactions, and sound effects make video chats with friends and family even better. Stickers, GIFs, emojis, and drawing tools give kids more ways to express themselves. And there aren’t any in-app purchases or ads.
To get a child onto the app, a parent downloads it and creates an account for his or her child. Thereafter the parent links the new Messenger Kids account to his or her Facebook. Now once a child’s account is set up by a parent, he or she can start a one-on-one or group video chat.
2. Parental Control
Parents have control over their child’s account on Messenger Kids. So parents can set controls, as well as review and manage their child’s’ contacts by using the Parent Dashboard. Children can also block and report as well, and doing so will notify their parents.
While kids use Messenger Kids, parents can connect with them using their Messenger app. Parents also have Supervised Friending, which means parents manage the contact list and can monitor friending activity in the Parent Dashboard.
The Sleep mode allows parents to control which days and times their child can use the app.
3. Resources for Parents
Facebook offers several resources available for parents to teach their children the digital skills that they require to be responsible digital citizens.
For example, parents can start conversations about digital entrepreneurship. Some questions to ask include:
Do you think young people can run their own businesses? Why or why not?
If you started your own business, what would it be about? How could you use the Internet to help you?
If you could create your own app, what would it be about?
4. Common Sense Media on Facebook Messenger for Kids
According to Common Sense Media, Facebook Messenger Kids can be seen as a social media option for kids who’ve outgrown toy smartphones but aren’t quite ready for the real thing. While what they really want is Instagram and Snapchat so they can act just like the big kids, Messenger Kids can be a stop-gap for younger children.
As mentioned earlier this option comes with parental control so that parents can see everything their kids do. Parents can control settings and even remotely shut down the app.
Facebook does collect user data, and the company clearly has a big stake in training young users for grown-up social media.
It is important for parents to educate themselves about the pros and cons, and then determine whether it’s right for your child.
5. How Safe is Facebook Messenger for Kids
Because parents approve and add all the contacts, it’s relatively low-risk in terms of chatting with strangers or encountering really inappropriate content.
Some of the risks are common to all social media such as being aware of digital footprints. Anyone can take pictures of content shared on the app, download photos and videos to their camera roll, and share them. There is no guarantee that everything shared will be appropriate or stay inside the app.
According to Morgan Brown, a Facebook director in charge of Messenger Kids; Messenger Kids is like digital training wheels. The Facebook executive shares that children can learn digital media basics. Such as learning what is appropriate social media behaviour, like when to text or call someone, what to do when someone doesn’t answer your call, or what to do if someone ignores a friend request.
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SEE ALSO: 12 Facebook Tips for Parents
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