Facebook has today (December 4) launched a preview of Messenger Kids – a standalone app designed to live on children’s smartphones and tablets, but which can be controlled by their parents.
The introduction of the preview – currently available on Apple devices only – allows children to start one-on-one or group video chats with contacts approved by mum or dad.
They can also send messages, photos and videos, with adult recipients receiving their messages via the standard version of Messenger.
“A library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets [kids] decorate content and express their personalities,” Facebook explained.
“Messenger Kids gives parents more control. Parents fully control the contact list and kids can’t connect with contacts that their parent does not approve. Parents control kids accounts and contacts through the Messenger Kids Controls panel in their main Facebook app.”
When the app is opened, children are greeted by a home screen that shows who their parent-approved contacts are, and which of them are online.
Messenger Kids, which is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), contains no ads, while Facebook has said it won’t use children’s information for ads.