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What is Facebook Messenger Kids?

Facebook has announced that Messenger Kids is expanding to more countries and getting some useful new features – but what is Messenger Kids?

Here’s everything you need to know about Facebook’s messaging service for children.

Messenger Kids is a free video chat and messaging app designed specifically for children. Under 13s can download the app on their smartphone or tablet, while parents can monitor their activities through their own Messenger account.

Messenger Kids is basically Facebook Messenger with training wheels. The app – which was originally unveiled in 2017 – is packed with stickers, GIFs, emojis and drawing tools, while video chats feature filters, reactions and sound effects that would appeal to young children.

Parents set up and manage contact lists on their own devices and there are no in-app purchases or ads in Messenger Kids.

Recent updates include the addition of Supervised Friending, allowing parents to offer kids the responsibility to add and remove contacts themselves (though parents will still be able to override these decisions). Facebook has also added a group feature that allows approved adults – such as teachers, coaches and parents – to connect kids with their classmates and friends while they’re out of school.

It’s a tool that will no doubt prove invaluable to some during the lockdown – though it’s hard to look past Facebook’s attempt to get its claws into Messenger’s future demographic while they’re young.

Related: Best parental control apps and services 2020

How to install Facebook Messenger Kids

To get your child set up with Facebook Kids all you need to do is download the Messenger Kids app on a smartphone or tablet.

Then, use your own Facebook login to authenticate a Messenger Kids account with the child’s name. From here you’ll be able to manage and customise your child’s account through the Parent Dashboard in your own Facebook app.

Creating a Messenger Kids account will not mean your child has a proper Facebook account, nor will the Messenger Kids account automatically upgrade into a regular Messenger account when the child turns 13.

Messenger Kids does not appear to be available in the UK just yet. However, Facebook announced that the app would be coming to 70 new countries with more to be added soon, so we’ll have to wait and see whether the UK joins that number in the future.

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