Parent-controlled App launched across Sub-Saharan Africa by Facebook

Today, Facebook rolled out Messenger Kids, a video chat and messaging app that helps children connect with friends and family in a fun, parent-controlled space. Available to download from the Apple App and Google Play Stores, Messenger Kids has been designed for children between the ages of 6 to 12 years

Commenting on the launch, Kojo Boakye, Facebook Public Policy Director, Africa said, “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.”

Ahead of its launch, Facebook consulted with child safety advocates and educators across Africa to ensure that its providing a service that balances parental control with features that help kids learn how to connect responsibly online.

Once their account is set up by a parent, kids can start a one-on-one or group video chat. The home screen shows them who they are connected to, and when those contacts are online. Children 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. A library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools let them decorate content and express their personalities.

Safety expert Evelyn Kasina, Family IT Consultant, Eveminet, added, "It is our responsibility to ensure online safety for our children. 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.” 

Through the Parent Dashboard, parents can control and monitor their child’s activity enabling them to view recent contacts, chat history, reported and blocked contacts, see a log of images and videos in chats, enable Supervised Friending, Remote Device Logout and the ability to download your child’s information. 

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