Facebook’s dubious app Messenger Kids, which makes parents control who children can talk to, is today coming out to Android devices in the U.S. with its arrival on Google Play. The app will also now carry a variation of new features for Valentine’s Day, like themed makes, stickers, and frames so that kids can send special Valentine messages to their friends and family.
Android is the current primary platform the app required to address, having initially debuted on iOS, followed by last month’s arrival on Amazon Fire tablets.
Today, many young children use mom or dad’s old Android smartphone as their gaming device or an Android tablet. Now, their parents, too, can want to install Messenger Kids.
The subject parents are questioning themselves, however, is whether they should do it.
It’s not an easy question with an easy answer.
Not all parents or industry specialists agree that Facebook’s kid-focused messaging app is a great idea. The reason is that kids aren’t set to be on devices or messaging family and friends, so they shouldn’t be doing this at all.
Perversely, they already are. This is what people don’t look to understand.
It’s not as if parents are enabling kids to use devices instead of having them doing kid-like stuff, like running around outdoors, reading books, riding bikes, doing art, or playing with friends. It’s just that devices have infiltrated kids’ lives, as they have ours. There are times that it’s fun for kids to send grandma a text, rather than pick up the phone – just as it is for parents.
Facebook’s child-friendly texting app Messenger Kids arrives on Android
The real problem is that there aren’t any existing solutions offering parents control over those conversations with the ability to scale, as a Facebook app offers.
Messenger Kids isn’t ideal by any means, but it’s a level up from predator playgrounds like Kik, for instance. It still needs a better way for parents to control the ongoing conversations, so they can step in if need be.
However, for those parents who have decided to use the app, the feedback so far has been convincing. The app currently has a 4-star rating on Apple’s App Store and 3.5 stars on Amazon’s Appstore.
The new Android version of Messenger Kids will go live today on Google Play here.