There are several means to access the internet and virtually communicate with others across the globe. Unfortunately, not all social media platforms or instant messaging apps are programmed with maximum safety and security in mind. Sure, some offer private messaging or end-to-end encryption, but these features don’t always work well for everyone, especially younger audiences.
When it comes to gadgets, applications, or sites accessible to kids, there must be stringent parental controls and safety nets in place. This is because the virtual world is a den of all sorts of users and content, including suspicious and malicious ones. Good thing, security protocols are now typically embedded into apps and platforms, only waiting to be enabled or activated. Hence, parents must be privy to how such features can and must be utilized. Today, we’ll be discussing Facebook Messenger Kids and all its safety and security features, and why parents can trust this messaging app for their kids.
What Is Facebook Messenger Kids?
Facebook Messenger Kids is an instant messaging app specifically designed for kids. This app enables kids to communicate with their friends without compromising their safety and privacy. While kids get to experience all the fun and enjoy all the inclusive features, the app gives parents full control over their kids’ messenger accounts.
In a nutshell, this app is the kids’ version of the widely used free text app, Facebook Messenger. It works similarly in a way that users can instantly send and receive messages, photos, videos, memes, and any other media content. Kids can also initiate audio or video calls aside from personal or group conversations. The main difference is there are more safety nets put in place in the Messenger Kids. Plus, the filters, stickers, emojis, and other built-in features have been significantly adjusted to be more kid-friendly.
This cross-platform Facebook messenger for kids can be downloaded and accessed using a wide variety of devices – from smartphones to tablets. Moreover, all services offered are free – from account registration to feature utilization. On top of the free services, in-app purchases and advertisements are disabled on Messenger Kids.
What Is The Difference Between Facebook Messenger Kids and Messenger?
Technically, the regular Facebook Messenger and the Messenger version for kids offer similar features. They both offer free services, allowing users to instantly send and receive texts, photos, videos, or any other media content. Both messaging apps also allow audio and video calling.
The key difference is the level of security protocols. For obvious reasons, Messenger Kids have more stringent safety nets and it’s embedded with a myriad of parental controls mainly to ensure the privacy and security of the kid user in almost all aspects.
Here are some key differences between the two versions of this messaging app.
- Regular Facebook Messenger
- Open for users aged 13 and above.
- Associated with a Facebook account.
- Ability to delete shared content or unsent messages.
- Can freely add or message anyone (even those that you’re not friends within Facebook).
- Facebook Messenger Kids
- Kids below 13 years old are allowed.
- Strict control on contacts (by parents or main account holder).
- Not linked to a Facebook account.
- No advertisements.
- No in-app purchases.
- No collection of data for commercial use.
- More kid-friendly emojis, stickers, and filters.
How Do I Set Up Facebook Messenger Kids for My Child?
Accounts for FB Messenger Kids must be created and set up by parents – this is non-negotiable. Hence, regular Facebook login credentials or account profile is necessary to register a kid’s account. Parents can register an account under their kids’ names without the need for an active phone number. Here’s how you can set up Messenger Kids for your child.
- Download – Download the Messenger Kids app from the App Store or Google Play.
- Authorize – Authenticate your kid’s cell phone or tablet using your Facebook account credentials.
- Create – Create your kid’s account using their first and last name. This won’t create a regular Facebook account.
- Access – Customize your kid’s account and using the Parent Dashboard from your Facebook account, you can access and control theirs.
One of the best things about Facebook Messenger Kids is that it’s full-packed with security protocols and safety nets. So, once you’ve created an account for your child, be sure to activate or enable the available parental controls that can significantly help you in protecting your kids from cyber threats and virtual risks. You can access all these from the Parent Dashboard on Facebook. From your Facebook account, tap on the Messenger Kids icon then select your child’s profile.
Here are some of the key features of Messenger Kids parents should utilize.
- Account Creation/Deletion – Only parents can create and deactivate an account for their child.
- Activity Monitoring – Parents can monitor their kids’ activities within Messenger – from recent conversations with allowed contacts to the complete list of chat history to the media content shared within their chat messages.
- Blocked In-App Purchases – Aside from being able to be utilized for free, the in-app purchases within FB Messenger Kids are disabled. Plus, this messaging platform is ads-free.
- Contact List Management – Parents have full control over who their kids chat with or talk to. They can monitor all friend-adding/accepting activities and manage their kid’s contact list.
- Four-Digit Code – An optional four-digit code can be created and utilized as a secured means of requesting and accepting new friends.
- Sleep Mode – Parents get to set specific “off times” when the messenger will automatically go to sleep and shut off, being completely inaccessible by the kid.
- Undeletable Messages – Unlike other messaging apps, there’s no way to delete a message – or any sent media content – from Messenger Kids.
- User Reporting/Blocking – Parents and kids alike can freely report and/or block any suspicious or abusive user.
What Can My Child Do On Facebook Messenger Kids?
As aforementioned, Kids Facebook Messenger offers similar features available in the regular Facebook Messenger just with a lot more security features embedded. So generally, your kids can do the following things within their Messenger account.
- Chat – Send and receive text messages, photos, videos, audio files, stickers, memes, GIFs, and any other allowed media content. Group chats are also available but these must be pre-approved by the parent.
- Audio Call – Initiate and answer audio calls for free but with the same high-quality audio offered by Facebook.
- Video Call – Initiate and answer video calls for free. With Messenger Kids, video chatting has been made more fun with its innovative and creative kid-friendly stickers and filters.
- Play Games – To make the overall experience more exciting, FB Messenger Kids is also programmed with games your kids can play alone or with their online friends.
Facebook Messenger Kids may not be a perfect app, but compared to the other apps of its nature, this is pretty much the safest one for your kids. The robust collection of Facebook parental controls, safety nets, and security settings are enough to put any parent at ease. Nevertheless, should you want additional security measures, you might as well install reliable monitoring software like Highster Mobile on their device. This is especially because there would surely be other applications your child might access aside from Messenger Kids. And such monitoring software provides similar controls across installed apps and offline phone activities.