Facebook launches Messenger Kids 'sleep mode' for more parental control

"For those parents who want even more control over the videos and channels in the YouTube Kids app, we're rolling out a feature later this year that will allow parents to specifically handpick every video and channel available to their child in the app".

However, before enforcing such a feature, Facebook urges all the parents to have conversations with their children.

YouTube has introduced three new features to its Kids app, that will allow parents to customise content. Messenger Kids doesn't have any advertisements or in-app purchases, and Facebook said it was developed in compliance with COPPA, the law that protects children's privacy online. The new "sleep mode" feature will give the parents the ability to set designated daily "off times" when Messenger Kids will go to sleep. Now, the Messenger Kids has received a new feature called Sleep Mode.

There are also plenty of reasons to be wary of apps like Messenger Kids and YouTube Kids. Sleep mode is controlled from the Parent Control center in the parent's Facebook account and the "off times" can be changed at any time.

During those "off times", the kids will not be able to send or receive messages in the chat app, play with the camera, engage in video calls or receive any sort of notifications of the app. In January, a group of 20 organizations including the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, ACLU and Parents Across America signed an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling the app "irresponsible" and urging him to discontinue it.

Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg have been under the radar ever since the social network's disclosure that 87 million of its users' information was wrongly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a political targeting firm. The app is there to make the kids more productive and this is how they can improve and build up good idea within their minds. Alongside using the sleep mode, they can add and remove contacts and even delete and create accounts from the control panel.

"There are times when families might want to set off time when the devices are down", Antigone Davis, Facebook's global head of safety, said during a press briefing Thursday. You can set different times for weekdays versus weekends. When they attempt to access the app, they'll come across a message asking them to come back later, and letting them know it's in sleep mode presently.

  • Essie Rivera