Is Facebook’s New “Messenger Kids” App Safe for My Kids?

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On the subject of on-line security, “Fb” isn’t the primary identify any of us typically consider. However they only launched Messenger Children, a kid-focused messaging app (just like Facebok Messenger or Snapchat) that it claims will preserve your youngsters safer on-line. However how does it work, and is it actually protected?

We’ll begin by saying this: solely you may resolve what you might be and aren’t snug with on the subject of your youngsters utilizing the web. Nevertheless, after utilizing Messenger Children for a bit, I can truthfully say this can be a fairly properly made app, with extra parental management than the rest I’ve personally tried. Let’s have a look at the way it works, and what makes it distinctive.

What Is Messenger Children?

Briefly, this can be a model of Fb Messenger designed particularly for youngsters below 13. Why 13? As a result of that’s the minimal age required to have a Fb account. Messenger Children is made to offer youngsters who aren’t sufficiently old to get their very own Fb account entry to speak and video chat with family and friends with approval from their mother and father.

So, as a substitute of simply letting youngsters set up no matter rubbish video chat utility all their pals with mother and father who’re much less involved than you might be utilizing, you will have full management over who they’ll discuss to. You may’t see what they’re saying, thoughts you, however you will have the say in who they’ll chat with, and also you’ll get notified if one thing goes awry. It strikes an awesome stability between parental management and the kid’s privateness.

It’s value nothing that that is not a Fb account for youngsters—fairly the opposite, in actual fact. It’s a very standalone chat utility for youngsters to speak with family and friends, utilizing Fb because the spine for the parental controls. Fb claims it gained’t even convert this account to a full Fb account as soon as the kid reaches the suitable age. In spite of everything, that’s for you to resolve, not Fb. (Although it actually does hook them into the model.)

After testing the app for some time, listed here are a number of the highlights of the app:

  • Full parental management of who the kid can chat with: You get to say who they’ll and might’t chat with. They will’t add anybody with out your approval first—and when giving approval, you recognize who the kid is and who the father or mother managing that account is.
  • The “report” and “block” function notify mother and father once they’re used. In case your little one feels the necessity to report or block somebody, Fb will let you recognize. That approach you may chat together with your little one about what occurred.
  • The “report” function may even let the different father or mother know. In case your little one experiences one thing one other little one with a Messenger Children account says or does, it’s going to inform the supervisor of that account—typically the opposite little one’s father or mother—that they had been reported.

Total, I’m fairly impressed with the Messenger Children app. I’d wish to see extra granular controls added—like the choice to toggle each chat and video chat choice for every particular contact—however in any other case, I feel it’s off to an awesome begin. Let’s hope Fb retains working to make it higher.

Now that we’ve got the overall stuff out of the way in which, let’s take a more in-depth, extra granular have a look at organising Messenger Children, and what it seems like to make use of—each for the kid and the father or mother.

Set Up and Use Messenger Children

In case your curiosity is piqued and also you wish to see what Messenger Children is all about, go forward and seize your little one’s cellphone (or pill) and let’s do that factor. It’s value mentioning that Messenger Children is simply out there for iPhone and iPad on the time of writing, however shall be out there on Android “quickly.”

Together with your child’s system in hand, go forward and set up Messenger Children. As soon as put in, hearth it up.

The very first thing you’ll need to do is log in with your Fb account—the mother and father’. This lets you handle the kid account. Faucet the Get Began button, then Authorize System, which is able to carry up the login web page.


When you’re logged in, you’ll add your little one’s identify.

The following display screen will mainly let you know what the app is all about and what to anticipate. Learn by the data after which faucet “Create Account” in the event you’re cool with what you see.

From there, you’ll need to grant the suitable entry: notifications, photographs, movies, and digital camera/microphone utilization. After tapping the “Permit Entry” button, every notification will pop up individually.

With that out of the way in which, it’s time to let your little man or gal arrange their profile—don’t simply hand the cellphone over, although. Assist them with this half so you recognize what’s happening! You may take a photograph that’ll act as their avatar so their pals—and pals’ mother and father!—can acknowledge them, in addition to select a shade to customise the app.

At that time, the one individual in your little one’s contact record shall be you. It’s time to maneuver to your system to handle their account.

Managing Your Youngster’s Messenger Account

After you arrange your little one’s profile, it is best to get a notification in your Fb that can take you straight to administration settings. You gained’t at all times have this notification in fact, so we’ll spotlight down beneath the place to seek out these settings in any other case.

You may handle your teen’s Messenger Children account from Fb on the net or in your cell system. I’ll be primarily centered on doing every little thing out of your cellphone right here, however the steps are mainly the identical no matter the place you’re working from.

To get to Messenger Children settings on the net, look within the Discover part of the sidebar in your Fb homepage.

On cell, you’ll discover the Messenger Children choice within the menu. On iOS, faucet the three traces within the backside proper nook; on Android, you’ll discover the identical three traces within the higher proper nook.


On both platform, simply scroll down util you see the “Messenger Children” entry.

Increase—you’re in. Faucet in your little one’s identify to handle that particular account. From right here, you may edit the kid’s identify and gender utilizing the little pencil icon on the prime.


It’s time to start out managing and including contacts. It ought to begin by suggesting household, together with youngsters of those that have already got Messenger Children put in. On the subsequent display screen, it’s going to present pals of yours whose youngsters are already on the service, too.

After that, you may add individuals by tapping the Add button. It’ll present individuals you’ve tagged as household on the prime of the record, together with your different pals thereafter.

When you add somebody, it’s going to ship a notification to that individual. When you’re including one other little one who’s utilizing Messenger Children, it’s going to ship a request to the father or mother, they usually’ll need to approve it.

When you discover that you just’ve by accident added somebody (or in any other case simply have to take away somebody from the account), simply faucet the three dots on the proper aspect of the individual’s identify, then faucet “Take away <individual> as a contact,” then verify it on the popup. Poof, they’re gone.

Utilizing Messenger Children: What Your Children See

Together with your little one’s profile all arrange and able to go, you may allow them to begin chatting. The interface for youngsters is easy and simple, with large buttons and few choices out there.

Your little one will be capable to to textual content and video chat with permitted contacts—sadly there doesn’t but appear to be a technique to approve just one or the opposite for particular contacts (and even generally!).

Each choices work just about the identical approach they do on normal Fb Messenger, although, albeit barely extra kid-friendly. For instance, the filter choices when taking an image are extra juvenile and enjoyable on Messenger Children. If the kid is chatting with an grownup, nevertheless, the grownup account will use the usual filter set.

On the backside of the kid’s contact record, there’s an choice for them to “Ask to Add a Contact.” With this button, the kid will ship a request to the father or mother with a selected contact in thoughts. The kid will enter the individual’s identify they wish to add—there’s no tagging function or whatnot right here, it’s quite simple and simple.


The request will then go to you on Messenger, the place it’s going to ask you to seek out the contact. That is the place communication is vital, as a result of your little one might have to confirm with you who they’re speaking about—and if it’s a pal of theirs, you could have to ask that little one’s mother and father to think about letting them get a Messenger Children account (and add you on Fb).

In any other case, your little one can play with the digital camera and filters in a standalone setting (with out sending the image in a message), and likewise create teams to speak with.

Utilizing Messenger Children: What You See

Actually, nearly all of what you may see/do with Messenger Children are issues we lined within the Managing Your Youngster’s Messenger Account part above. You may add and take away contacts for them, however previous that it’s fairly easy.

As your little one desires to speak with extra individuals, you’ll additionally need to approve these requests—be it these from others requesting to speak together with your little one or your little one request particular individuals.

You may, in fact, additionally delete your little one’s Messenger Children profile. This could possibly be a very good bargaining device if they’ll’t appear to get their act collectively.

To that, soar again into the Messenger Children settings web page, then faucet the pencil icon within the higher proper nook. Then select “Delete Account.”

You’ll have to substantiate it, however when you do this, it’s gone.

The Further Stuff: Reporting/Blocking Contacts and Content material Management

If somebody is harassing your little one over Messenger Children, they’ll additionally report that particular person, which is able to ship you a notification—the opposite individual (or relevant father or mother) gained’t be notified nevertheless.

The kid can both long-press a selected message and select the “report” choice, or click on the gear icon within the higher proper nook of the open message, then select “Report.”

It’ll then immediate the kid to clarify why they’re reporting the opposite individual, providing just a few easy choices as pre-selectable textual content. There’s additionally an choice so as to add their very own textual content within the “Are you able to inform us extra” part.

Sadly, on the father or mother aspect it doesn’t give plenty of perception as to why the opposite account was reported: neither the pre-selected textual content nor the “are you able to inform us extra” choices are proven to the mother and father. As an alternative, a easy it is best to in all probability ask your child about this message is obtainable.

The excellent news is that in case your little one experiences a remark, Fb will evaluate it after which notify the opposite father or mother in the event that they discover it violates the neighborhood requirements. Once more, they gained’t disclose what was stated, solely that it was value eradicating.

In case your little one decides to dam a contact, it’s mainly the identical factor: they block them, and also you’ll get a notification telling you that they blocked another person.


As soon as blocked, your little one can’t unblock somebody—there isn’t a “black record” to talk of. As an alternative, if you wish to unblock somebody, the father or mother can as soon as once more re-add the individual.

It’s additionally value mentioning that, throughout testing, we eliminated a contact after reporting them and weren’t capable of re-add stated contact. In reality, that contact didn’t present up once more in any respect. We tried to copy the problem with a special contact and couldn’t, nevertheless. I’m going to imagine this was a bug, however it’s actually unclear what was happening there. Simply one thing to concentrate on—be certain that your child is simply eradicating contacts they actually don’t wish to discuss to once more, as a result of there’s an opportunity they might disappear endlessly. Possibly even off the face of the planet.

We additionally examined just a few situations the place inappropriate language was used—curse phrases and crude language—which the app did nothing about. That is each refreshing and regarding to me: refreshing as a result of it permits the kid to have freedom and privateness with out Messenger Children seeming like an overbearing large brother, however regarding as a result of I’d wish to know when somebody is saying issues that shouldn’t be stated in a dialog with my little one. Particularly if my child is the one with the potty mouth! Nevertheless, they’ll at all times report the message, through which case it will let the father or mother know (as I discussed earlier).

Fb isn’t a type of firms you robotically consider on the subject of conserving your little man or gal protected on-line. To date, although, I’m tremendous pleased with what I’ve seen from Messenger Children—I like how in management the father or mother is of who the kid is speaking to (and who the kid’s father or mother is), which ought to preserve them protected from the creepsters of the web. Long run, nevertheless, I’d wish to see extra data offered to the father or mother when one other person is blocked or reported by the kid—like why. I’d additionally wish to see some type of choice for a notification if a sure phrase is used—possibly a customized record that may be entered by the father or mother or one thing comparable.

In fact, solely you may resolve what you’re snug letting your little one do on-line, and whereas this app has extra parental management than most others I’ve seen, it nonetheless does give the kid some autonomy. Personally, although, I feel this can be a nice begin, and the most effective apps on the market for letting youngsters chat and video name with their pals.

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