Messenger Kids is a parent-controlled way for kids to connect with close friends and family.
Facebook launched the product last month with the believe that parents “trust us to protect their children’s data, and we take that responsibility seriously”.
“When building Messenger Kids, we worked closely with parents, parenting organizations, child safety and privacy advocates, and child development experts around the world to understand what parents and kids need in a messaging app. We incorporated this feedback into strong privacy protections for data collection and use, ensuring parents can oversee their child’s activity in the app. Today, as we expand the availability of Messenger Kids to new countries, we want to provide answers to some common questions about our privacy practices and controls”, the Chief Privacy Officer, Policy at Facebook, Erin Egan, said in a blog post.
What choices and controls do parents and kids have?
Parents are in control of their child’s experience in Messenger Kids. Parents set up their child’s account, manage their contacts and review their child’s activity.
Through the Parent Dashboard in the Facebook app, parents can:
- See who their child interacts with and how frequently, as well as recent images and videos shared in a Messenger Kids chat
- See contacts blocked by their child or any reports submitted
- Remove or report any recent images or videos parents find inappropriate
- See devices where their child is logged in to Messenger Kids and log their child out of the app from any device
- Download their child’s Messenger Kids information, similar to how adults can download their own information on Facebook
“Kids can block other contacts or report a person or issue through the app. Kids may be able to request and approve new contacts if their parents opt-in through the new Supervised Friending feature. We also help kids understand how parent controls work and how a parent can see their activity and information in the app. Kids can choose to block and unblock contacts themselves and they can also report messages and contacts”, Ega added.
How does Messenger Kids impact data collection and ads?
“When a parent signs their child up for a Messenger Kids account, we don’t create a profile for the child on Facebook and we don’t automatically migrate their account to Facebook when they turn 13.
Who sees Messenger Kids information and activity?
As mentioned above, parents can see their child’s activity in the Parent Dashboard.
Your child’s name and profile photo are visible to their approved contacts, parents of approved contacts, parent’s friends who also manage a Messenger Kids account, and people parents invite to use the Messenger Kids app.
Parents can also choose to make their child’s name and profile photo visible to friends of approved contacts and their parents, children of the parent’s Facebook friends who manage a Messenger Kids account, and the children of people parents invite to the Messenger Kids app.
“We developed an activity in the Messenger Kids app that uses kid-appropriate language and graphics to educate kids on the types of information people can see about them. For example, we explain that people they know may see their name and photo, that parents can see and download their messaging content and that they are not able to delete any messages they send or receive.
“We share Messenger Kids data with our service providers in order to operate the app and review and address reported issues from users. We require that these companies adhere to strict data confidentiality and security obligations.
“We will continue to work with experts, advocates and families to incorporate strong privacy protections as we make changes and improvements to Messenger Kids”, Ega concluded.