Facebook launches Messenger Kids: A standalone app for kids.

messenger kids

Messenger Kids is a free video calling and messaging app by Facebook designed for kids to connect with close friends and family from their tablet or smartphone. Kids can only connect with parent-approved contacts, which creates a more controlled environment. Group or one-on-one video calls with loved ones have been made funnier with interactive masks, reactions and sound effects.

Parents will have full control of the contact list and decide who can connect with their children. The messages exchanged between kids won’t disappear and won’t be hidden in case parents would like to check in. Parents, and approved adults like grandparents, can video chat and message with their kids through their existing Messenger app. No additional app download is needed for parents. Messenger Kids allows kids to message and video call using Wi-Fi so they don’t need a phone number.

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Features

With the feature-filled camera, kids can create fun videos and decorate photos to share moments with loved ones. All of the art and creative elements of the app, including masks, stickers and drawing tools, have been created with kids in mind. The GIFs that kids can send to friends have also been vetted to make sure they’re kid-appropriate.

How to set up Messenger Kids for your child:

1. Download the Messenger Kids app on your child’s iPad, iPod touch or iPhone from here.
2. Authenticate your child’s device using your own Facebook login and password.
3. Create an account for your child by adding his or her name.
4. Add friends and family and review contact requests for your child.

Parents are meant to initiate all contact requests on behalf of their children from the Messenger Kids parental controls within Facebook. In order for two children to chat, both their parents must approve the connection. Unlike other places on the web, kids can only chat with people their parent has approved, making Messenger Kids a safer, more controlled environment.

When you sign your child up for Messenger Kids, it doesn’t mean you are signing them up for a Facebook or Messenger account. Messenger Kids is a separate, standalone app just for kids.

Which devices is this app available on?

Messenger Kids is currently available in the App Store for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone. Facebook plans to launch the app on Android devices and Amazon Fire tablets soon. While a child currently must use Messenger Kids on an iOS device, parents and other approved adults can chat with the child from any device the adult uses to access Messenger. Parents also decide which adults, like a grandparent or aunt, they want their child to be connected to through the app.

What kind of parental controls are in the app?

Account Creation: Each child’s Messenger Kids account will be managed through the Facebook account of their parent or guardian. A parent must initiate the account setup process from the Messenger Kids parental controls within Facebook.

Parent-Approved Contacts: Kids can only connect with family members and friends their parent approves, which makes the app a safer, more controlled environment.

Blocking: Kids can block people they don’t want to be connected to, and parents can remove people from a child’s contact list at any time. This also hides the child from the blocked person, who can no longer see them in the app.

Reporting: Parents and children can also report anything that makes them feel uncomfortable from the child’s Messenger Kids account. There is an option to provide more context before reporting the content. Facebook will notify a parent through Messenger if their child reports content or other accounts on Messenger Kids, and will review the reported content to remove anything that does not meet the Community Standards. Facebook will also remove kids from the app who repeatedly violate Community Standards.

Account Deletion: A parent or guardian can delete their child’s Messenger Kids account at any time through the Messenger Kids parental controls within Facebook.