Facebook Gives Parents More Control Over and Information On Messenger Kids

The stand-alone app debuted in December 2017

There are no ads or in-app purchases within Messenger Kids
Facebook

Facebook introduced several new parental control and visibility features and an updated privacy policy for its Messenger Kids stand-alone application, which it debuted in December 2017.

The social network said parents can access these new features via their flagship Facebook apps on iOS and Android by tapping the shortcut menu and scrolling to the Messenger Kids icon. Parents with multiple children using Messenger Kids can select the name of the child whose account they wish to access.

Facebook

Parents can now access recent contacts and chat history to see who their kids are chatting with, whether they are video-chatting or sending messages and the frequency of those conversations over the past 30 days.

A log of photos and videos that kids have sent and received is now available to parents, who can remove content that they feel is inappropriate and report that content.

Parents can see a list of reporting and blocking actions their kids have taken in Messenger Kids, and they will be notified via Messenger when their kids block or report someone.

Facebook

They can also see all devices on which their kids are logged into the app and log them out of Messenger Kids on any device via their parent dashboards.

Facebook’s option for users to download their personal information has been extended to Messenger Kids, and parents can download a list of their kids’ contacts, as well as messages, images and videos they have sent and received. Kids will be notified via Messenger Kids when their parents request this data.

Facebook

For kids on the app, a kid-friendly data education overview was added to help them understand what information other people can see.

Facebook
Facebook

Facebook wrote in a blog post, “As kids start using technology, we think it’s important to help them understand how their information is used and shared. That’s why we developed an in-app activity that uses kid-appropriate language to educate kids on the types of information people can see about them. For example, we inform kids that people they know may see their name and photo, that parents can see and download their messaging content and that they are not able to delete any messages they send or receive.”

Kids on Messenger Kids can also unblock blocked contacts. Chats with blocked contacts will remain in their inbox and be visible to parents, and kids and blocked contacts will remain visible to each other and remain in shared group chats, but not be able to message each other individually.

Facebook

Kids will receive warnings if they return to or are added to group chats that include blocked contacts, and they can leave those group chats at any time. Parents can also remove people from their kids’ contact lists at any time.

Facebook said the privacy policy for Messenger Kids was updated to provide additional information on its data collection, use, sharing, retention and deletion practices, as well as to preview features that will roll out at a later date, such as enabling users to provide feedback directly within the app when it isn’t working properly and to take part in user surveys aimed at improving features.

The social network stressed that kids’ data from Messenger Kids is not used for advertising, and there are no ads or in-app purchases within the app, adding that kids’ information is not sold to anyone.

Facebook wrote, “There are a number of things that aren’t changing with the new features and updated privacy policy. For example, we haven’t changed our practices with regard to sharing information with third parties. The privacy policy continues to make it clear—now with even greater transparency—that we only share information with service providers for the purpose of operating the Messenger Kids service. We require them to adhere to strict data confidentiality and security obligations, and work with them on things like reviewing and addressing reported issues from our users. “

The company said the new tools are a direct result of conversations with parents, association and experts.

Facebook wrote, “With two out of three parents wishing they had more control over their kids’ online experiences, we’ve continued our dialogue with parents and experts around the world to ensure that we’re providing a messaging app that works for families. Today, we’re announcing additional tools and features for parents to manage their child’s experience in Messenger Kids and updating our privacy policy.”

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