Good news if your kids are feeling a bit disconnected during the pandemic…. Facebook’s Messenger Kids app is now available in South Africa, after being launched in the US in 2017. The app is aimed at kids under 13 who can’t have Facebook accounts, in line with Facebook’s regulationsIt’s a video chat and messaging app that lets kids connect with family and friends.
In addition to video chat, kids can send photos, videos or text messages to their contacts in the app. There is even a library of kid-friendly GIFs, frames, stickers, masks, sound effects, masks, emojis and drawing tools.
It has parental controls so that parents can customise the app for their kids. Parents can edit and change contact lists, and will be notified if their child reports or blocks another user.
You can also see a log of images and videos, set “sleep mode”, which limits the amount of time your child can spend on the app, and enable “supervised friending”, which gives you more control over your kid’s contacts.
How to use Messenger Kids
To use the app, a parent has to set up an account for a child after downloading the app (free on Google on iTunes).
From there, children can start a one-on-one or group video chat. The home screen shows them who they are connected to, and when those contacts are online.
They can also see a log of images and videos, set “sleep mode”, which limits the amount of time your child can spend on the app, and enable “supervised friending”, which gives them more control over the child’s contacts.
Parents can control and monitor their child’s activity in the app through the Parent Dashboard, located in the parent’s main Facebook app.
Through the dashboard, you can also see all the devices on which your child is logged into Messenger Kids, and you can even log out your child from afar.
The company says it does so to enhance users’ experience and user privacy, “including to help verify accounts and activity, and to look into suspicious activity or violations of our terms or policies”.
Good to know
- There are no ads in Messenger Kids and your child’s information isn’t used for ads.
- There are no in-app purchases.
- Messenger Kids is also designed to be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).
- For more information about the app, visit messengerkids.com.