Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular messaging platforms available today. A little while ago the company released a new way to allow kids to communicate through the platform without an age restriction or even the requirement of an actual Facebook account. The app is called Messenger Kids, and it is actually a really fun way for kids to be able to communicate with friends and family members.
What is Messenger Kids like to use?
The one really great thing about Messenger Kids is that if you are already using regular Facebook Messenger on your phone, you don’t have to download anything else in order to communicate with children using Messenger Kids. When a child sends a message to someone on their contact list through Messenger Kids, it automatically is sent to the standard Facebook Messenger.
I love using this application for young kids that may have a device they can play with, but do not currently have service on that device. Many parents will hand down old devices to their children, and using Messenger Kids is a great way to communicate through those devices, as long as they are connected to WiFi.
Once you install Messenger Kids on the child’s device it will ask you to sign into a parent’s Facebook account. The child will not have a Facebook account of their own, it will all be tied to the parent’s account. After you get the parent signed in, you will assign a child to the device. You can then manage the child’s contact list from your Facebook account.
If you have friends who also have installed Messenger Kids for their children, Facebook will give you a few suggestions of kids you can add to your child’s contact list. You can choose to add them or not. We have Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and several cousins attached to our kid’s account so they can keep in touch with any of them whenever they want! They can also create groups for chats like an entire chat with just cousins.
The app also includes a ton of filters that make it really fun for the kids to use. My children are always sending me videos, emojis and pictures. They really have a lot of fun with it.
What should parents watch out for?
Since the system is pretty locked down, and Facebook doesn’t require you to actually create an account for your child, it is a very safe app for your kids to use. The main issues we have in our house are when they want to chat TOO much with their Aunt or Cousin.
Although I can understand why they do this, it can be difficult for me to send certain things to my kids because the app is so secured. My daughter can send me a GIF, but I am unable to send her one through regular messenger. They are blocked. I was also unable to send my kids links if I needed them to click on something. While these things are slight inconveniences for me, I do appreciate that they are thinking about ways to keep kids safe.
The app also allows you to set a sleep timer on the app so your kids won’t be up all night chatting with their friends or family. This also helps keep them away from bothering Aunt Amy when it’s late at night and she’s already in bed!
Messenger Kids is really fun to use, and the kids love it. The system is controlled so you don’t need to worry about random people contacting your children, or sending them viruses. The only downside is that it works best when your child has a device of their own to use with it.