Facebook's Messenger Kids app will be giving parents control over when their children can use the messaging app. On April 27, Messenger Kids is getting the sleep mode feature which lets parents decide at what times its appropriate for their children to use the messaging app.
Messenger Kids is geared toward children under the age of 13.
Sleep mode can be found in the parental control panel of the app. Parents can select weekdays or weekends then they are able to set the times in which the children will not be permitted to use the app. During this time, they won't be able to get notifications if they receive messages on the Messenger app, they won't be able to send or receive messages, and won't even be able to play with the app's camera.
These settings can be adjusted at any time by their parents. Settings for the app are located in the Parent Control center in the parent's Facebook account. In the press release for the launch of sleep mode, Facebook gives parents a step-by-step guide on how to set-up sleep mode.
This is a major step in giving parents more control over what their children are doing online. Disabling Messenger Kids during this time when they should be sleeping or doing homework lets parents have a larger say in the activities their children should be doing at a specific time.
From the control panel, parents are able to add or remove contacts, delete the account, or create a new account.
Messenger Kids Launch
Messenger Kids was launched in December 2017 and it has proven to be very controversial. Facebook was urged to shut down the app by more than 100 child development experts, health groups, educators, and parents. The group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood wrote an open letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.
In the letter, the group says that the app is harmful to children and teens. They also warn Zuckerberg that this app will very likely undermine children's healthy development. The letter goes on to say that children aren't ready to handle to complexities of online relationships, this could lead to misunderstandings and conflicts even among adults.
Messenger Kids has also been described as a gateway for Facebook. It would funnel users from the age of 6 to 12 directly into the main service.
This tool is a step in the right direction for Facebook which cannot seem to be conflict-free recently.