NEW DELHI: As kids stay home during the social distancing times, Facebook has brought its children-focused video chat service Messenger Kids to India alongside more controls for parents to connect kids with friends.
Facebook Messenger Kids was launched in the US in 2017 and was expanded into Canada and Peru in 2018.
Previously, it had been up to parents to ask and approve every contact for his or her child.
Now with the 'Supervised Friending' feature, parents can themselves allow their kids to also accept, reject, add or remove contacts while maintaining the power to override any new contact approvals from the Parent Dashboard," Facebook said during a statement late Wednesday.
'Supervised Friending' has started rolling out in the US and can gradually reach the remainder of the globe.
"When a child takes a friending action, parents are going to be notified through Messenger and may override any new connections made by going to the Parent Dashboard, where they're going to also be allowed to see a log of recent activities," said Antigone Davis, Global Head of Safety at Facebook.
Messenger Kids has been launched in 70 new countries around the world, including India.
Just as parents allow a tutor or coach to assist their child to navigate classroom or team friendships, another new feature gives parents the option to approve an identical adult to help connect their child with other kids through a group in Messenger Kids.
"These approved adults can only connect kids whose parents have also granted this adult an equivalent approval," said Davis.
Parents are going to be notified when new contacts are added for his or her child and may manage the list of contacts and approved adults through the Parent Dashboard.
Once connected through a group, kids also will be ready to chat with one another individually. Kids also can leave groups they're added to at any time.
"Parents within the US, Canada and Latin America can now prefer to make their kid's name and profile photo visible to friends of their kid's contacts and their parents, kids of the parent's Facebook friends, and youngsters of individuals parents invite to download the Messenger Kids app," informed Davis.
This feature will be made available to other parts of the world within the coming weeks.
Parents can monitor their child's activity within the app through the Parent Dashboard, where they'll also be able to download their child's information at any time.
"This may be a powerful opportunity and teachable moment for guardians to possess a conversation with their kids about the life-long skill of selecting one's friends, both face to face and online," said Dr Lewis Bernstein, a member of Facebook's Youth Advisors and former executive vice-chairman of education and research at Sesame Workshop.