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 launching in preview today for iPhone and iPad users in the USA and will be targeting 6 to 13-year-olds with a child-friendly alternative to the main Messenger app. Parents have to use their own Facebook credentials to authenticate a device for use with the new Messenger Kids app, and parents have full and final say over who the kid is able to connect with through Messenger. "We're going to see how kids are using it, and that will allow us to add updates in future versions as necessary". Parents use their Facebook email and password to activate their child's account.
Facebook said it had "thought-provoking conversations" around parent controls and responsible online communication with organizations such as National PTA and Blue Star Families in shaping the app.
"Do parents want to spend all their time monitoring their kids' texts and social media", she asked. We'll let you know when that Android version eventually launches, but for now, head down to the comments section and give us your take on Messenger Kids.
To target kids, you need to target the parents - and that's what Facebook is doing now with Messenger.
Messenger Kids offers an opportunity to introduce children to the wider Facebook ecosystem, fending off advances from rivals targeting children and teenagers, while locking parents and family into the social network to communicate with their children.
Facebook-home to rampant harassment, misinformation, and foreign election interference-is coming for your kids. It's completely independent of the flagship Facebook and Messenger apps, and is compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act.
Dr. Lewis Bernstein, former executive vice president of Education, Research and Outreach for the Sesame Workshop, compares the development of Messenger Kids over the last 18 months to those early years of developing "Sesame Street", the long-running, iconic show that now airs on HBO and re-airs on PBS. Millions of parents are part of Messenger community and they asked us for controllable solutions that let them message with their children.
It's worth noting here that Facebook itself remains closed to those under 13 years of age. It also includes a GIFs section for choosing images to send to friends, but content in the section is regulated by Facebook. The account will be in Messenger Kids app and will automatically migrate to original Messenger account when they turn 13.