Amid coronavirus lockdown, Facebook has reportedly launched messenger kids with more parental controls in India. During the movement restrictions when kids are confined at home practicing the social distancing norms, the company has introduced a kids-oriented video chat service messenger that can connect them with friends with control under parents.
Previously launched in the US in 2017 and later in Canada and Peru in 2018, the feature has now reached India with revised protocols. Earlier, only parents could approve and invite contacts for the children to be friends with. However, Facebook now allows the parents to let the kids accept, reject, add, or remove contacts, while they still can override a contact from the parent approval dashboard. This feature, known as “supervised friending” enables kids to explore the contacts while parents can still supervise the activity.
Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety at Facebook, told the press conference while the launch that the parents will get the notification whenever the kids friend somebody. He added that it would give them the authority to override the contact if they choose to via the parent dashboard. The dashboard also helps to keep a tab on the recent activity, he further explained.
Dr. Lewis Bernstein, a member of Facebook''s Youth Advisors and former executive vice president of education and research at Sesame Workshop reportedly said that the messenger for kids was a powerful opportunity for the parents to connect with kids over teachable moments about life-long skills to choose appropriate connections.
Speaking about the features of the app, Facebook said in a statement on its website, “Facebook has done a good job of balancing features that both deliver the right information to keep parents in the loop about their child’s use of Messenger Kids, while also allowing children to have fun and learn digital literacy skills.”