Facebook Added a Sleep Mode to Messenger for Kids

Parents can designate times for the app to be inaccessible

Parents can set predetermined “off times” on the devices used by their children Facebook
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Parents now have a way to make sure their offspring aren’t sneaking peeks at Messenger Kids under their blankets while they’re supposed to be asleep.

Product manager Tarunya Govindarajan announced in a Newsroom post that a sleep mode was added to the Messenger Kids application, enabling parents to set predetermined “off times” on the devices used by their children.

Once parents set their designated off times, Messenger Kids will not be accessible to their kids until they end.

Off times are added via the parent control center of parents’ Facebook accounts, and they can be changed at any time. Also, different times can be set for weekdays and weekends.

Parents can also use their parental control centers to perform actions such as adding and removing contacts, deleting kids’ accounts or creating new accounts.

Facebook introduced Messenger Kids for iOS (iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone) users in the U.S. last December, bringing it to Amazon’s Kindle Fire in January and adding an Android version in February.

The app gives kids access to many of the features of the flagship Messenger app, including one-on-one or group video chats (only with contacts approved by parents), masks, emojis, sound effects, GIFs, frames, stickers, masks, drawing tools and the ability to send photos, videos and text messages to contacts approved by their parents.

Govindarajan wrote in her Newsroom post, “Parents have told us that they like how Messenger Kids allows them to fully control the contact list and check in on their child’s messaging as they’re learning to navigate the digital world. But parents also told us they would like controls that make the app inaccessible at a certain time, like during dinner, homework time or bedtime. We took this feedback to heart and built a feature that gives that level of control to parents.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.