Facebook has launched Messenger Kids, a video chat and messaging app that helps children connect with friends and family in a fun, parent-controlled space.
In a statement on Tuesday in Lagos, Facebook said that the Messenger Kids was now available across Sub-Saharan Africa.
It said to help shape the Messenger Kids app, Facebook had worked closely with youth advisors over the years, made up of experts in online safety, child development and media.
The Facebook said it had also consulted with child safety advocates and educators across Africa to ensure it’s providing a service that balances parental control with features that help kids learn how to connect responsibly online.
The company said the Messenger Kids was made for kids, but controlled by parents.
It said that the app was full of features for kids to connect with people they love.
Facebook also said that once their account was set up by a parent, kids could start a one-on-one or group video chat.
According to it, the home screen shows them at a glance, who they were connected to, and when those contacts were online.
It said that a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools to let them decorate content and express their personalities were also available.
Commenting on the launch, Kojo Boakye, Facebook Public Policy Director, Africa said: “We know that parents are turning to technology more than ever to help their kids connect with friends and family online.’’
Boakye said that with privacy, security and parental control at the heart of the app, Messenger Kids provided a safe, fun space.
Evelyn Kasina, a Safety Expert and Family IT Consultant at Eveminet, was quoted as saying: “It is our responsibility to ensure online safety for our children.
Kasina said that the greatest sign of success was when children display responsible independence during their online interaction.
She said that the launch of Facebook Messenger Kids was an amazing stride toward child online safety as young children would enjoy and participate on social media on child development platforms that have safety parameters to keep them safe.
According to Facebook, through the parent dashboard, they can monitor and control their child’s activity, see a log of images, videos in chats and also enable supervised friending.
It said that the app was available to download from the Apple and Google Play Stores, noting that the Messenger Kids was designed for children between the ages of six and 12 years.
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