As I walked up the stairs towards my daughter’s room, I heard her giggling with her girlfriends. They were telling jokes, playing games, and enjoying their friendships… all from their own bedrooms, safely in their own homes. I smiled and felt such gratitude for technology at that moment. It was a brief moment of normalcy in a crazy time thanks to Messenger Kids.
Almost a year ago, that free app my daughter asked to download because “all her friends had it” wasn’t as big of a deal. After several days of begging, I did some serious investigation and found this to not only be a fun way for my kids to communicate with their friends but also allows me to keep an eye out for their safety. And honestly, that’s hard to find these days. Fast forward a year, and it has quickly become a lifeline to our social connections and a way to keep holiday traditions and connections alive (and even make new ones!).
Saving Holiday Joy
Just in time for the holidays, Messenger Kids can help provide fun activities and even a Santa experience, virtually. It has never been easier to safely share in the holiday spirit. Throughout the month of December, the app will be adding seasonal stickers, interactive AR effects, and some fun holiday games.
In addition, parents can join in the fun! You can always talk to your kiddos via the app from your own phone or tablet, but now you can also send them digital holiday cards. Learn together about different holiday traditions for Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah.
And perhaps, my personal favorite, a direct line of communication with the one and only Santa! Check it out and thank me later. It really does create some special memories your children won’t soon forget and is perfect for not only the super-believer in your house but also those older kiddos on the cusp of losing that holiday magic. With the ability to “be” Santa, you can personalize the conversation and include household details (mention the pets or your Elf), give specific praise for a job well done, or reinforce your family’s Santa policies (ie – in our house Santa brings three gifts, big gifts have to be approved by mom and dad via our Elf, and Santa doesn’t deliver live gifts – so take the puppy and another baby sister off your list!).
With the group chat features, cousins and classmates alike can still feel like they’re celebrating together and the holiday and Christmas AR options and ‘filters’ have provided endless hours of storytelling, make-believe, and giggles as they discover themselves with a beard or suddenly transformed into a wintery character.
The app also provides a truly unique opportunity to participate in other family’s traditions. An invitation to a night of Hanukkah celebrations brought the menorah to life in our home via generous friends and a tablet. You better believe we’ll be opening gifts with cousins on Christmas morning and I have no doubt that Christmas day will be filled with messages flying back and forth about gifts, surprises, and holiday greetings.
I know you’re wondering: but how secure is it?
Messenger Kids has thought of everything. I can feel completely comfortable knowing she’s getting to socialize and feel some normalcy in her life, connecting with friends and family from her own bedroom. It is not a social media account. I can decide whether my daughter can connect to people without my approval and catering to the nervous parent, there is a TON of parental control and restrictions available to set to your personal and family preferences. Not to mention, I can monitor my child’s activity on the app right on my own phone.
And the best part in our house? No in-app purchases. I can rest easy knowing that I won’t see charges – no ads, no cost, no stress about crazy charges popping up on my end. It has truly been a lifesaver during this pandemic – and now, it can also save Christmas.
Connecting with Family
We’ve learned that over the last year, many experiences have been lost. But, connection to our loved ones doesn’t have to be one of them. I can personally set up a list of family members that my kids can contact via Messenger Kids at any time.
Whether they are sending Grandma a silly joke, challenging a friend to a quick game of tic tac toe, or simply sending pictures of their latest art project to her cousin- they’re continuing to make lasting memories with family and friends. They can message, video chat, or draw pictures to communicate back and forth just as if they were in person and it makes my mama heart so happy for them to have this opportunity.
Do your research
Don’t just take my word for it, look it up and make yourself feel comfortable. If you are like me, the decision to allow your child the ability to communicate with others via technology is a big one. Yet, the comfort of knowing I control everything makes a huge difference while creating a fun environment for my children.
Messenger Kids makes it easy for you to find the answers to the questions you’re looking for and provides a ton of information to make parents feel in control.
Create an account if you don’t already have one already by visiting the Messenger Kids – Santa set up page.
Installing & setup
The app is free and can be downloaded from any of the app stores: Click here for more details on how to set it all up!
To set it up:
- Download the Messenger Kids app to your child’s phone or tablet.
- Authenticate your child’s device using your Facebook login.
**Please know this will not create a Facebook account for your child.**
- Create an account for your child by adding their name.
- Parental controls are available in the Parent Dashboard in your main Facebook app.