Facebook announced Monday a new product solely for children, the first of its kind from the company. The social media giant announced it would release a Messenger Kids app for kids to video chat and message that parents can have some control over.

The app was inspired by talks with parents, experts on parenting and online safety, and associations like the National PTA, Facebook said in a blog post on it’s website. The idea for the app came from parents who were looking for safe apps for their children to use to communicate with friends and family, and was developed alongside those parents and the children who would be using the app, the company said.

“We created Messenger Kids with the belief that parents are ultimately the best judges of their kids’ technology use, and the parents we’ve spoken to have asked for a better way to control the way their children message,” said Antigone Davis, the head of global safety for Facebook.

messenger Kids Facebook's new Messenger Kids is in the Apple App Store available as a preview. Photo: Screenshot

How to get Messenger Kids from Facebook:

The app is now available as a preview in the App Store but is currently only available for iOS devices like the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone for those in the United States. It’s a free app with no ads and there are no in-app purchases so parents don’t need to worry about a charge showing up on their card from their child using the app. The plan is for the app to become available in the Amazon App Store and on Google Play for other non-Apple devices in the coming months.

Once a parent downloads Messenger Kids, they have to use their own Facebook account information to authenticate the device that the child will be using. Facebook says that this process won’t give the child access to the account used for authentication nor will it create a Facebook account for the child. Then the adult will have to finish the setup by providing the child’s name for the account. In order for the child to be able to chat with someone, the adult will have to add that person to an approved contact list. To do this, adults can go into the “Messenger Kids parental control panel” found in their own Facebook account, this is accessible by selecting “more” in the bottom right corner of the Facebook app, and then by selecting “Messenger Kids.”

Is Messenger Kids safe?

The app is very new and still in the preview stages but it was created with suggestions from parents and experts on kids. It’s designed to only give the kids using it access to certain people on the app. When kids open the app they’ll see a home screen of the people they’re allowed to speak to and which of those parent-approved contacts are online, according to Facebook. Once the kids have the app in their hands, however, they can message or video call any one person or group of people on the approved list. They can also use the filters, masks, GIFs, photo frames, stickers, and other creative tools specifically chosen for kids and added to the app. If a parent approves an adult relative, the child will be able to contact that adult, who will get the message in their regular messenger app.