Tech Talk: Will your kids use Facebook's Messenger Kids app?

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Tech Talk with Lisa Hendey/Son Rise Morning Show (CatholicMom.com)

On a recent episode of the Son Rise Morning Show, we discussed Facebook’s new Messenger Kids app.

Facebook has announced a new app for children that’s making the news. What is the app and why do parents need to pay attention?
  • Messenger Kids is a new app that is designed for children video chat and message with family and friends
  • It’s a standalone app for kids’ tablets or smartphones that’s intended to be controlled from a parent’s Facebook account

Can you give us a basic overview of how the app works? (see https://www.cnet.com/how-to/what-you-need-to-know-about-facebooks-messenger-kids/)

  • App features include sending pictures, video chatting and filters, stickers and texts similar to the features in snapchat or instagram
  • You create the account with your child, tying it to your own account. When the child wants to add contacts to chat with, you either approve the contacts or invite their parents to add the app and then approve them.
  • Facebook provides a parent dashboard that shows all of the child’s contacts
  • Parents and children can report and block inappropriate content
  • Messenger Kids is designed to be compliant with important child privacy laws like the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Want to know more? See https://www.cnet.com/how-to/what-you-need-to-know-about-facebooks-messenger-kids/ for detailed information about how the app works.

In the name of research, all the features of this app were tested. Here’s the photo Annie referenced during the show. Copyright 2017 Lisa Hendey. All rights reserved.

What should be some of the primary concerns for Catholic parents whose children use the Internet?

  • influence of content on children’s souls
  • personal data protection and data being mined for advertising purposes
  • risk of predatory behavior
  • addiction to technology and what it does to children’s brains

Even if families decide this app isn’t for them, why is it important for parents to be talking with our kids about technology on a regular basis?

  • You can be sure everyone at school is talking about it
  • It’s important to follow the trends of technology. This type of supervised private messaging is a training ground for the types of apps that are increasingly popular with young people: snapchat, instagram
  • Talk regularly about why such tools are great too, and how they can be used for good – to communicate with loved ones and to share what makes you special, including your faith.

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.


Copyright 2017 Lisa Hendey

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder of CatholicMom.com, a bestselling author and an international speaker. A frequent radio and television guest, Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and communications. Visit Lisa at LisaHendey.com or on social media @LisaHendey for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish, school or organization. Find Lisa’s books on her Amazon author page.

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