Facebook For Kids
Image Source: Axios
As a 90’s kid, I learned about social media in my preteens. It’s fascinating to see young kids becoming so familiar with technology at a younger age (I swear my two-year-old nephew is better at using an iPhone than I am). For the most part, major social media companies have strayed away from the younger generations, with apps like Snapchat and Instagram issuing a 13+ age restriction. So, I was shocked when I got a Facebook notification from my nine-year-old niece.
As it turns out, Facebook has launched a new app called Messenger Kids. This new app allows parents to set up an account for their child to connect with family and close friends. The child’s contacts are invited and approved by a parent and the accounts themselves must be connected to a parents’ account.
Kids can send photos, videos and messages in a controlled environment. Parents fully monitor and control their child’s interactions. Messages cannot be deleted, allowing parents to see all of their child’s interactions. Like Snapchat, the Messenger Kids app provides kid-friendly photo filters such as dog ears, sunglasses, and giraffe faces, which are honestly a favorite of mine as well (see proof below😊).
After doing some research, I learned that the app is actually very safe. The app is COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) compliant and the parental restrictions are extensive.
Parental restrictions on the app include:
- Account creation – Every account must be managed and created through a parent or guardian’s Facebook account.
- Parent-approved contacts – Parents must send an invitation through messenger to family and friends in order for them to become their child’s contact.
- Blocking – Anyone that the parent/guardian does not want to give access to can be blocked. Once blocked, the child is no longer visible to the contact.
- Reporting – If a child or parent feels uncomfortable with any interaction, parents can report the incident to Facebook to investigate.
- Account deletion – Thou that givith, can takith. A parent can easily delete the Messenger Kids account at any time.
So, while it may seem crazy for kids to have a messaging app, I’m honestly loving the little messages I’m getting from my two nieces (ages seven and nine) telling me all about what they did at summer camp today. As their mom said, we may have opened Pandora’s box, but I’d rather their online interactions be safe and monitored rather than the scary alternative…
Posted by Julia D