The Internet can be a scary, dangerous place for children, even when parents go to great lengths to control what content, videos, apps and games their offsprings are allowed to access on specially designed tablets and wearable devices.
But instead of forbidding your kids from using ubiquitous social networking services like Facebook or Facebook Messenger, you could try setting up a limited account for them.
Right now, you can only do that in a feature-crippled Messenger Kids app available as a preview on US iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches, but a Google Play and Amazon App Store expansion will definitely happen “in the coming months”, and the general concept might be something worth exploring for the larger Facebook platform as well.
After downloading Messenger Kids from Apple’s App Store, all a Facebook-using adult needs to do is log into their own account, create a sub-account for their child, and add people to an approved contact list.
Your child will only be able to chat with friends and family members you approve of, via text or video, as well as send photos, choosing from a rich library of age-appropriate and “specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools” that let them “decorate content and express their personalities.”
Sounds entertaining… enough, but also safe and practical for parents constantly worried with the perils of the open web. Oh, and don’t worry about ads, child info harvested for ads, installation costs or in-app purchases. There will be none of that, at least to start with.