Facebook’s controversial Messenger Kids app makes it easier for little BFFs to connect

By Melissa Locker

August 13, 2018

Facebook’s Messenger Kids, the social media site’s controversial chat app for the under-13 set, finally made it easier for kids to friend one another on the app without requiring their parents to be Facebook friends, too.

That means parents don’t have to Facebook friend some paste-eater’s parents just because their kid knows all the answers to the math homework. Instead, kids can request parents’ approval of new contacts after the fact, no faux-friending required, TechCrunch reports. To use the feature, parents must opt-in to the setting. The app will then randomly create a four-word passphrase for each child. When the child wants to add a friend to their contact list, they share the phrase with the future friend to enter in their own app.

While the parents don’t have to be Facebook friends for the kids to connect, some parental involvement is still required—both parents receive a contact request from their child and both have to approve the request before the kids can start chatting.

However, this is even less parental involvement than an earlier tweak that required parents to search for the parents of their child’s friend and invite them to get the app so the kids can connect. Facebook must have realized that even that level of involvement was too much for parents who would literally rather clean the classroom chalkboard with their tongues than go to a PTA meeting, let alone connect with that mom who is always screaming on the sidelines of a soccer game.