Facebook is now giving parents even more control over how their kids use their Messenger app. This week, Facebook announced that parents will be able to see their children’s recent chat history, images in their children’s inbox, and more. Here are the best new features of the Facebook Messenger Kids app, and how to use them.
The Parental Dashboard on the Facebook Messenger Kids app has three main tabs: Activity, Contacts, and Controls. Facebook added new capabilities under the Activity tab. These include Recent Contacts and Groups, Reports and Blocked Contacts, and Images in Chat.
On the other hand, the Log Out of Devices and Download Information options can be found under the Controls tab. Kids can block contacts or unblock them easier, while parents have access to blocked contacts and chat history.
More Parental Controls
The new features in the Facebook Messenger Kids app give parents the tools to keep their kids safe online. For instance, the Recent Contacts and Groups section lets parents check out who their child has been communicating with for the past 30 days, and how often these interactions occurred.
In the Images in Chat section, parents can see a log of the photos and videos sent and received in chats, ensuring your child only communicates with age-appropriate content. Parents can report unsuitable content if needed.
Similarly, parents can see a list of blocked or reported people, and why they were blocked or reported from the Reports and Blocked Contacts section. When a child reports or blocks a contact, parents will get a notification. Kids can also unblock contacts by themselves. Parents can view the chat history with blocked contacts, should they want to have a conversation with their kids about it.
With the Remote Device Logout feature, parents can view all the devices that the Facebook Messenger Kids app is logged into. They can then log their child’s phone out of them from the app. Parents can also download a copy of their child’s data, including their contacts, messages, photos, and videos. Both features are available from the Controls tab on the dashboard.
To access the Parental Dashboard, tap on the three-line menu icon at the bottom right of the app. Next, tap on the right arrow beside the Messenger Kids icon. On the desktop version, go to the Explore section to the left of the newsfeed and look for the app icon. Click on the See More link if you don’t see the icon right away. For parents with more than one child on the app, they must first select the child’s account they want to manage before they can get to the dashboard.
How Messenger Kids Works
Launched in 2017, Facebook Messenger Kids is a messaging app for parents of children below the age of 13 who cannot yet sign up for a Facebook account. The app lets tweens chat with family and friends. To get the app, parents or guardians can download it from the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store, and Amazon.
To make sure an adult is setting up the app, parents will have to put in their Facebook password. The parent will then create the Facebook Messenger Kids account for their child. Afterward, kids can use the app with fun tools like GIFs, frames, colorful stickers, and playful augmented reality (AR) masks when they message or call a friend or family member. Creating a Messenger Kids account will not create a Facebook account for the child, protecting the child’s privacy.
Parents approve contacts by first adding the child’s parent on the app. For example, say the child wants to add a classmate as a contact. The parent must first send a Facebook friend request with the parent of his classmate. Once accepted, the parent can then add the classmate as a contact for their child. Parents can add family and friends under the Contacts tab of the dashboard.
If you want even more protection, check out our article on how to use Facebook’s Off-Facebook Activity check-up tool to control the data that apps and websites share with Facebook.