MANILA -- Facebook's Messenger Kids app is now available in the Philippines.
The mobile application, which was first rolled out in the United States in 2017, allows children ages 6 to 12 to use video chat and messaging features in a parent-controlled environment.
Amber Hawkes, Facebook head of safety for Asia Pacific, said Messenger Kids comes with its own library of child-appropriate stickers, GIFs, frames, masks, and drawing tools.
Each account is to be set up by a parent, who can then screen contacts and messages using his or her regular Messenger app.
According to Hawkes, Messenger Kids does not create a separate Facebook account for children nor give access to their parents' personal social media pages.
She added that there are no ads and in-app purchases in the new service.
"Through our work with the Stairway Foundation, the Child Rights Network, and other safety partners in the Philippines, we learned that many Filipino parents are looking for ways to help their children stay in touch with friends and family during this challenging time, in a fun and parent-supervised environment," Hawkes said.
Ace Diloy of the Stairway Foundation, for his part, said they will continue working with Facebook "to help make the platform safe for children" as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues.
"In a pandemic, children are not able to explore and socialize with friends the way they used to. Experiencing change and restrictions in both learning and play is especially challenging for children," he noted.