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Still, a reporting interface written specifically for kids lets them flag anything sketchy to a dedicated support team working 24/7.One thing that might surprise some people is that there’s no way for parents to secretly spy on what their kids are saying in their chats.Messenger Kids is interoperable with the main Messenger app, so adults don’t actually have to download the Kids app.Kids still can’t be found through Facebook search, which protects their privacy.Facebook won’t be directly monetizing Messenger Kids, automatically migrating kids to real accounts when they turn 13 or collecting data so that it complies with Children’s Online Privacy Protections Act (COPPA) law.But the app could prime kids to become lifelong Facebook users, and lock their families deeply into the platform where they’ll see ads.Once the parent has authenticated it with their own account, they set up a mini-profile with their kid’s name and photo.Then, using the Messenger Kids bookmark in the main Facebook app, parents can approve anyone who is friends with them as a contact for their kid, like aunts and uncles or godparents.
Kids can block and unblock their parent-approved contacts.
So if a child wants to be able to chat with one of their classmates, their parent must first friend that kid’s parent, and then will see the option to approve that adult’s child as a contact for their own kid.
This is by far the most clumsy part of Messenger Kids, and something Facebook might be able to improve with a way for Messenger Kids to let children perhaps photograph a QR code on their playmate’s app to request that their parents connect.
Sometimes after 5 or 10 minutes it’s really hard to have a sustained conversation with a 7-year-old,” but kids can joke around with Grampa using the selfie filters when they run out of run-on stories to tell them.
Messenger features like location sharing and payments have been stripped out, while the Kids version of Giphy won’t let you search for things like “sex.” Facebook actually manually selected a set of GIFs that kids can use rather than relying on a third-party startup to tag things well enough.
When children open the Messenger Kids app, they’ll see a color-customizable home screen with big tiles representing their existing chat threads and approved contacts, with their last message and the last time they were online.