Facebook have just announced new parental controls on its Messenger Kids platform that will allow parents to view their child’s chat history, in a move to better protect young people and give parents peace of mind when their children are online. This is one of several tools announced for the Messenger Kids platform, which first launched in 2017 as a more child-friendly way to communicate aimed at under-13s, controlled from a parent’s main Facebook account, according to Metro.
Parents need to be extremely careful with the balance between protection and trust. It’s handy for a parent to have such control, but this should never be abused. Confidence in a young person is a vital part of growing up. The ability to view private conversations could, in some circumstances, be misused- and this in turn breaks down that trust. Simply telling children that they could do spot checks at any time and have their messages read is usually enough to create trust between parent and child without actually reading anything that may be private. However, if some children aren’t comfortable with this feature they are likely to just use the standard version of Facebook Messenger, which does not have these safety controls