Facebook now lets parents see their children's chats on Messenger Kids

Rob Waugh
Facebook unveiled the new controls today (Getty)

Anxious parents will be able to spy on what their children are up to on Facebook Messenger Kids after the service unveiled a set of new controls designed to protect youngsters online.

The social network, which turned 15 today, announced the new tools for its Messenger Kids platform.

It became controversial last year after a flaw in the app meant children could have come in contact with strangers not approved by their parents.

Messenger Kids first launched in 2017 as a more child-friendly way to communicate, aimed at under-13s and controlled from a parent's Facebook account.


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Facebook said the Parent Dashboard feature will now allow guardians to see who their child is chatting with, whether they are video chatting or sending messages, as well as how frequently those conversations happened over the past 30 days.

Parents will also be able to see photos and videos both sent and received by the minor's account, with the ability to remove and report them.

If the young user has blocked or unblocked anyone, parents can access a full list, on top of the notification they already receive whenever a child blocks or reports someone.

In a bid to better educate under-13s, Facebook said it will start using "kid-appropriate language" to explain how their information is used and shared.

The social network reiterated that its existing protections, such as not using children's data from the app for advertising purposes, will remain unchanged.

"These updates are part of our ongoing efforts to provide more transparency and help people better understand how our services work," said Messenger product manager Morgan Brown.

"Parents will have 90 days to review and accept the new privacy policy and we strongly encourage them to review the updates with their kids."