Facebook announced on Tuesday it intends to roll out a number of additional parental controls for its Messenger Kids app aimed at children under the age of 13.
Facebook product manager Morgan Brown explains how the new tools and features are meant to help parents “manage their child’s experience in Messenger Kids.” There are actually five new features being made available in the Parent Dashboard, which parents can access from the Facebook iOS and Android apps.
The first covers recent contacts and chat history, allowing parents to see who their child is talking to, the frequency over a 30 day period, and whether the interactions include video chat and sending messages. The second is an extension of the first feature, allowing recent photos and videos sent and received by a child to be viewed and removed if necessary.
Facebook is also making it possible to see who your child has reported or blocked/unblocked, which is an extension of the existing feature where parents are notified via Messenger when their child reports or blocks someone. It’s also now possible to view a list of the devices your child is logged into Messenger Kids on and select which ones to log out of remotely.
Finally, it’s possible to download your child’s information, including “a list of your child’s contacts as well as the messages, images, and videos they have sent and received.” Your child will be notified through Messenger Kids that the information has been requested.
Other changes include allowing a child to block or unblock a contact on their own and an in-app activity teaching kids about the information people who talk to them in the app can see. It also informs kids about the data Messenger Kids uses to operate and how that data is shared.
The need for greater control was made clear last year when it was discovered Messenger Kids had allowed children to talk to strangers. Facebook said it was a technical error relating to the design of a group chat feature. Hopefully, additional design flaws haven’t been introduced with these new parental controls.