As school distance learning programmmes continue, kids are online more and more, and are relying on technology as a substitute for both school and social life. Enter Facebook and its new kid-frendly app that is bringing the outdoors into the home… safely.
Messenger Kids has arrived in the UAE and is a fun way for kids to connect via a video chat and messaging app. But the greatest aspect of the app is that it has parental contol.
Mum or dad get to set up the account for the kids then it’s full steam ahead into a world of kid-friendly gifs, text messaging and emojis, funky masks and drawing tools, among others.
And while the kids are having online fun, parental control means you can monitor the activities via the Parent Dashboard though your personal Facebook account.
Here’s what you, as a parent, will be able to do:
- Monitor recent contacts, chat history, and reported and blocked contacts: See who your child is chatting with, whether they are video chatting or sending messages and how frequently those conversations happened over the past 30 days. You’ll also see a list of the contacts your child has blocked and/or unblocked, if they have reported any messages as well as any contacts they’ve reported and the reason for their action. Parents will continue to be notified via Messenger if their child blocks or reports someone.
- See a log of images and videos in chats: See the most recent photos and videos your child has sent and received in their inbox. If you believe an image or video is not appropriate for your child, you can remove it from your child’s message thread and report it.
- Set Sleep Mode: Parents can limit the time their children spend in the app by setting predetermined “off times” for the app on the child’s device through the Parent Dashboard. While Sleep Mode is active, the child will not be able to use the app.
- Enable Supervised Friending: This feature will enable parents to choose to allow their kids to also accept, reject, add or remove contacts, while maintaining the ability to override any new contact approvals from the Parent Dashboard. When a kid takes a friending action, parents will be notified through Messenger and can override any new connections made by going to the Parent Dashboard, where they will also be able to see a log of recent activities.
- Remote Device Logout: See all devices where your child is logged in to Messenger Kids and log out of the app on any device through the Parent Dashboard. (Note: This feature is not meant to control when kids have access to the app – try Sleep Mode for that.)
- Download your child’s information: Request a copy of your child’s Messenger Kids information, similar to how you can download your own information within the Facebook app. The download will include a list of your child’s contacts as well as the messages, images and videos they have sent and received. Your child will be notified through the Messenger Kids app when you request this information.
Four quick and easysteps to get started
First, download the Messenger Kids app on your child’s iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone. Messenger Kids will also be available in the Google Play Store and on Android devices.
Then, authenticate your child’s device using your own Facebook username and password. This will not create a Facebook account for your child or give them access to your Facebook account.
Create an account
Finish the setup process by creating an account for your child, where you’ll provide their name and opt-in to any additional features. The device can then be handed over to the child so they can start chatting with family and friends.
To add people to your child’s contact list, go to the Messenger Kids Parent Dashboard panel in your main Facebook app. To get there, click on “More” on the bottom right corner in your main Facebook app, and click “Messenger Kids” in the Explore section
Messenger Kids is for kids aged 6-12 years old and can be downloaded from Apple App Store and Google Play Store.