Facebook debuted the Messenger Kids over two years ago, with the goal of providing a safe platform for children to stay in touch with friends Initially limited to the United States, the app later expanded to Canada, Peru, and Mexico. Today, however, Messenger Kids is seeing its biggest expansion yet, adding support for more than 70 new countries.
The list is quite extensive, and while it includes countries from many parts of the world, it seems that most European countries are not included in this wave of the expansion. There’s also no indication that the service will come to Europe anytime soon. The focus seems to be on South America and some Asian countries.
Along with the expanded availability, Facebook is adding new features to Messenger Kids. First is Supervised Friending, which allows parents to control which contacts the child can add on the app. Parents can choose whether their kids have control over their contacts or not, and they can also override connections made by their children.
Another new feature is the ability for select adult users to create groups for kids to connect. The idea is that an adult, such as a teacher or coach, can help connect a group of kids that they’re teaching or training. With that in mind, parents can give permission for that adult to create group chats that include their child, so the these adults can connect groups of kids that practice certain activities together, as long as they have permission from parents. Both of these features are available first in the U.S. and rolling out gradually to other markets.
Finally, parents can now choose to make their kid’s name and profile picture visible to friends of that kid’s contacts, kids of the parent’s own Facebook friends, and kids of people that parents invite to use Messenger Kids. The goal is to simply expand a kid’s contacts through extended connections with people parents already trust. This feature is available now in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America, with more countries coming soon.