What the Tech: Facebook Messenger Kids

Local News

Facebook has an age limit of 13, though it’s easy to lie about your age. Facebook Messenger for Kids has an age limit of just 6. This week the company launched more ways for parents to keep a close eye not just on their kids, but on anyone trying to chat with them.

Facebook Messenger for Kids launched in 2017. Intended to give youngsters a way to chat with family and friends. It had parental controls so you could approve new contacts. Things turned sour last summer when the app allowed people parents hadn’t approved, to connect with kids in group chats.

Many parents immediately deleted the app from their phones.

In an update this week Facebook has tightened things up considerably and is giving parents more control than ever over what their kids can do on Messenger for Kids.Parents can see all recent contacts and chat history. Who are they chatting with and how often? Parents will see photos the child has sent and received.

Kids cannot delete a photo and images won’t disappear as they do on Snapchat.

A parent can also log their child out of the Messenger app remotely.

And parents can schedule “Sleep mode” where the app won’t work.

Facebook is taking some big steps in making Messenger Kids safe for kids and to give parents some control and peace of mind. There are other concerns of course with young children using social media but in terms of chatting with family and friends, with a parent actively monitoring their usage, Messenger Kids is safer than a school playground. The updates will appear the next time you open the app.

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