Safe Online Messaging Apps for Kids
[3/25/2021] Our children are growing up in the digital age, surrounded by technology in all its wonder—and danger. While there are plenty of good reasons to embrace technology, it represents a significant risk for children, who can easily get lured by online predators.
Apps like Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Instagram were not designed with kids in mind. Parental controls aside, most kids are savvy enough to get around them if they want. Privacy and protection from harmful content are the biggest concerns. Fortunately, there are several kid-friendly messaging apps that combine safety, accountability, and parental monitoring to give your children what they want in a parent-approved package.
Here are a few ideas for child-friendly messaging and chat apps:
Messenger Kids delivers the Messenger experience to your children in a safe, parent-controlled environment. Parents create their kids’ accounts, control their contact lists, and review content through the customizable parent dashboard. Kids can also block and report users themselves, which instantly notifies the parents. There are no in-app purchases or ads to worry about, and users have all the features, stickers, GIFs, emojis, and creative tools they need to express themselves fully.
Kinzoo promises a superior experience over Messenger Kids, and as a COPPA-certified app, you can be confident of their commitment to safety. Kinzoo offers a complete range of messaging functionality, including voice, text, video, images, emojis, and pretty much everything they need to get their points across. The video chat features a time-limited setting to encourage more meaningful connections, and overall it’s a great—and safe—online experience for children six and up.
The Blinx app calls itself “kindergarten for social media,” as its mission, essentially, is to give children a controlled environment to learn the joys of online social interaction without the worry. Only your selected “in-crowd” can send messages or share photos, videos, and vemos (voice memos), and your kid can send their own instantly with a single click. Data privacy is assured because messages are only stored on your in-crowd’s devices. If the message isn’t downloaded, it’s deleted from Blinx’s servers for good.
JusTalk Kids gives your children all the fun calling and messaging features they’ll love in a safe environment. One nice bonus is that since it works over Wi-Fi, you don’t need a phone number to get the most out of it; in other words, you can repurpose an older phone that’s not locked to a number or provider. Your kid will enjoy doodles, stickers, games, group chats and calls, and easy connections to family members who already have a JusTalk account. One caveat – it’s a paid app, either by subscription or a one-time fee, but there are plenty of cool features to justify the expense, and they do offer a three-day trial, so you can see what it’s all about.
If your children are clamoring for social connection, there are plenty of safe, controllable, and fun ways to satisfy their needs. Just make sure to look for apps that prioritize privacy and give you the level of control and oversight you feel comfortable with.