Recently, Facebook faced an embarrassing safety issue with its Messenger Kids app. Around two years back, Facebook launched its messaging app for under 13 kids- Messenger Kids, promising a safe private chat space (under the parent’s approval) for children across the globe to talk to their friends.
Surprisingly, now kids can freely chat with their friends without any parental approval. While parents are now recognizing the importance of monitoring a child’s online activities, a social media giant like Facebook completely eliminates parents’ monitoring of Messenger Kids app under the name of technical errors.
What Is Facebook’s Messenger Kids App?
Messenger Kids was launched back in 2017, first in the US and gradually it extended to Canada and Peru in 2018. Facebook claims that this large-scale roll-out is to help children stay connected with friends, especially during the current Coronavirus crisis.
Facebook Messenger Kids is a messaging app that lets children to securely communicate with their family and friends through messages and video calls. It also enables children to send images to each other. The app can be regulated through the parent’s Facebook account and does not need a child’s individual Facebook account.
Just a few days back, Facebook has made a few changes to the app. One such major change is allowing kids to choose their friend requests. Also, parents can make kid’s profile photos visible to friends of friends.
Does Messenger Kids App Play Fast And Loose?
The technical flaw of Facebook Messenger Kids App lets thousands of children join unauthorized users a few days back. Facebook informed parents of the users about this tech-flaw through mails and messages.
In this technical error, Facebook automatically allows any random friends of a kid to make a group chat with other friends in the app which invites one or more of the second child’s parent-recommended friends — i.e. without all the secondary contacts having been reviewed or approved by the parent of the first child.
As a quick-fix, Facebook immediately turned off the affected chats and equipped parents with supplementary resources on Messenger Kids and online security.
Probably, the issue has arisen due to how Messenger Kids’ Permissions are applied in the group chats. The multi-user chats possibly override the rule of expected parental consent for contacts with whom children are chatting one on one.
Seeing such digital dangers, parents across the globe started using parental control apps such as Bit Guardian Parental Control. This app offers screen time control features and effective real life and virtual life safety tools. You can give your child safe digital navigation with this kids’ safety app.
How Parents Can Keep Kids Safe?
In the current Messenger Kids situation, laws have very little support to offer. However, in Europe, there is a growing concern about the risks children may face when going online. It led the U.K. government to attempt to regulate the area.
In the current lockdown situation, kids use social media apps the most. Just a few months back TikTok has violated child protection laws and now Facebook is not a safe messaging platform for kids- this may worry parents the most. The main concern of parents is to give their kids safe digital navigation.
Apart from using kids’ safety apps parents should monitor children’s online activities to keep them safe.