Facebook launched Messenger Kids back in 2017 as a way to let young children—those too young for their own accounts (so, under 13)—to chat with friends and family under the umbrella of a parent’s account. Today, the company announced a slew of new features to give parents more control over what their little guy or gal is doing in Messenger Kids.
If you and your child already use Messenger Kids (or you’ve been holding off on the service because of lack of parental control), then the new features announced by Facebook today should be welcome additions.
For starters, parents can now see tons of recent chat info, including contacts and chat history, images (both sent and received), and blocked contacts. This will allow you to see what your child is talking about, who they’re talking to, and if they’ve recently blocked anyone. If you see something you don’t like—like an inappropriate photo, for example—you can remotely remove it from the chat.
Parents can now also keep an eye on the devices kids are using to log into Messenger Kids and remotely log them out if needed. This is a good way to make sure old devices don’t still have access to the service, but Facebook is quick to point out that this isn’t a way to block your child’s access to Messenger Kids temporarily—that’s what Sleep Mode is for.
Finally, parents have the option to download a copy of their child’s activity on Messenger Kids. This data includes the contact list, messages, images, and videos (both sent and received). Your kiddo will get a notification if you try to pull this info, so you can’t secretly try to pull the chat logs. That’s kind of a bummer, but I get it.
All these new features should be available now in the Parent Dashboard, which you can find under the Messenger Kids link in the main Facebook app. If you want more info on any of this new stuff, Facebook has a pretty good post detailing everything new.