Facebook has a new app for kids that lets you control who they chat with — here's how it works


Tech Guide

Facebook has a new app for kids that lets you control who they chat with — here's how it works

  • Facebook launched a new chat app for kids called Messenger Kids.
  • It lets parents control who kids under 13 can chat with.
  • It's up to parents whether their kids should be chatting so young, but if they are, at least this provides parental controls.

Facebook announced a new chat app named Facebook Messenger Kids on Monday.

It lets parents have more control over who their kids can chat with, which means your kids won't have to use the full version of Facebook — where they might end up talking to strangers or creeps.

The app doesn't have ads, so Facebook isn't sharing anything with ad partners, and the app also doesn't have in-app purchases. It meets the Children's Online Privacy and Protection app guidelines, Facebook said. Still, it's designed for kids, not teens, which opens up a whole debate about whether youngsters really should be using chat apps in the first place.

It's available for iPhone now in the U.S. and will launch on Android in the coming months.

In any case, here's how Facebook Messenger Kids works.

This is the app; it has a different icon than the regular Facebook Messenger.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

You'll need to authorize the device using your adult Facebook account first.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

Then you'll enter your child's name.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

Facebook then shows this screen, which confirms it'll keep their messages, give you control over who they can talk to and more.

Next, your kid will snap a picture of himself. In this case, it's my fictional son Joe Consumer.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

Then you'll choose a color for the app. I picked green.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

This is the main screen where your kids can add contacts and take pictures.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

This is what it looks like when a child asks to add a contact.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

This is what you see, as a parent, when you get a request from your child asking to chat with someone.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

Here's my fictional son Joe Consumer asking me for a ride from the bus.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

Parents can't watch their kids' conversations but can delete their kids' friends.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

Kids can still have fun with all sorts of masks.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

That's it! It's up to you as a parent if you want to use it.