Messenger Kids users can do numerous same things users of the regular Messenger app can do - send text-based messages, video chat, tack on virtual stickers and face masks - but with stricter rules and parental controls in place.
Messenger Kids is a training wheels version of its full-fledged product - which will allow children to exchange messages and photos with friends and family as well as video chats.
This is the first time Facebook has developed an app specifically for kids. Instead, parents need to log into their own Facebook accounts after downloading the mobile app to configure their kids' messaging experience. Facebook said it has also created privacy and security measures to give parents transparency and control over their kids' online activities. Then you can add their name and approved contacts.
Now the app is only available for iOS, although Android support is expected.
Like any business, Facebook's goals shouldn't be viewed as entirely altruistic, even if Messenger Kids is free to download and use.
She said, "For a child who is just now starting out in social media to have certain restrictions and parental guidance, that is important". The app is created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). Facebook plans to release Android and Amazon versions next year. If two children want to be friends with each other, each will have to get parental approval for contact.
Kristelle Lavallee, a children's psychology expert who advised Facebook on designing the service, called it a "useful tool" but also noted, "The risk of exposure to things they were not developmentally prepared for is huge". Millions of parents are part of Messenger community and they asked us for controllable solutions that let them message with their children. According to one USA Today report, "It's a grown-up problem for Facebook which needs young users to develop the habit of checking Facebook so it can show them ads well into adulthood".
Facebook-home to rampant harassment, misinformation, and foreign election interference-is coming for your kids.
At the same time, Facebook is promising not to sell ads into the Messenger Kids stream nor to automatically move the kids onto Facebook when they are eligible. It's a restrictive system, but one that highlights how tricky it is to give children access to social media, and particularly an app that's operated by one of the world's largest (and most controversial) social media firms. Facebook won't migrate kids over to its "adult" apps when children reach that age, but it's easy to see that happening on its own.