Here’s something you might not know, Facebook has had a Messenger Kids platform in select regions since 2017.
Now the application is being rolled out in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is available for use locally for children aged six to 12 and downloadable from either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
“Helping to shape the Messenger Kids app, Facebook has worked closely with Youth Advisors over the years, made up of experts in online safety, child development and media,” Facebook noted in a press release sent to Hypertext.
“Ahead of its launch, Facebook also consulted with child safety advocates and educators across Africa to ensure that it’s providing a service that balances parental control with features that help kids learn how to connect responsibly online,” it adds.
For those unfamiliar with the app, it is set up by parents, with a full range of security features built into it too.
Whether or not children will want to use a social media platform that their parents have set up though, remains to be seen, but once it has been created, it will allow kids to start messaging and one-on-one or group video chats.
To help make the platform more appealing, Messenger Kids has masks, emojis and sound effects for conversations.
In addition to video chat, kids can send photos, videos or text messages to their parent-approved friends and adult relatives, who will receive the messages via their regular Messenger app.
Added to this is a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers and drawing tools to let them decorate content.
“We know that parents are turning to technology more than ever to help their kids connect with friends and family online. With privacy, security and parental control at the heart of the app, Messenger Kids provides a safe, fun space, controlled by parents to do exactly that,” says Kojo Boakye, Facebook Public Policy director for Africa, of the recent launch.
“It is our responsibility to ensure online safety for our children. The greatest sign of success is when our children display responsible independence during their online interaction. The launch of Facebook Messenger Kids is an amazing stride toward child online safety because our young children will enjoy and participate on social media on child developed platforms that have safety parameters to keep them safe,” adds Evelyn Kasina, family IT consultant at Eveminet.
For more information on Messenger Kids and what security and privacy features it offers for parents, head here.