Facebook is officially launching the Messenger Kids app for Amazon Fire tablets. The new app originally debuted back in December, but was limited to users on iOS devices. Now, though, Facebook is expanding the reach of Messenger Kids by launching it through the Amazon Appstore for Fire tablet users in the US.
As the name suggests, the app is aimed at children, more specifically those aged under 13 who aren't legally allowed to own a Facebook account. Nonetheless, the goal of the new platform is to allow these children to communicate with others under strict parental supervision. In order to use the app, there is no need for a phone number or a new Facebook account. Instead, parents are prompted to enter their own Facebook account details, which will then give them control of everything their child sees. Once the app is set up and running, parents will be allowed to freely choose who their child can communicate with, while also maintaining access to any of the conversations. Despite certain restrictions, the app does retain most functions of the regular version, meaning children will also be able to have video calls with friends or even communicate through group chats. The launch of the child-friendly Messenger app comes shortly after Facebook shut down its "M" virtual assistant Messenger bot, which had been available for over two years to a couple of thousand Californian residents, but lives on in the form of M Suggestions, a feature that is also expected to be available in the Messenger Kids app, helping to suggest the best stickers to send friends.
The expanded reach of the Messenger Kids app comes shortly after a new report surfaced pointing towards Facebook moving into the hardware business with a new home for video calling called Portal. The new device would work in a similar fashion to Google's newly announced Smart Display platform in terms of video calls – which are expected to take place through the Messenger app – but this is yet to be confirmed by the social media giant. For now, those interested in Facebook's Messenger Kids app can download it on their iOS and Amazon Fire devices, but Android users will have to wait a little longer, with the company said that a version for Android should arrive before the end of the month.