Messenger Kids is going to space! 🚀
Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of Pledge Planets, an interactive, in-app activity that will help kids learn and practice how to make healthy online decisions, stay safe and build resilience. Kids will explore different planets based on the tenets of the Messenger Kids Pledge, helping characters navigate various social situations and make decisions that lead to positive outcomes. By completing the games in each episode, kids will see that their kind, respectful, safe and fun actions have a big impact on those around them.
Digital citizenship is an important skill for kids to learn as they begin spending time online. Before kids start using Messenger Kids, they are introduced to the Messenger Kids Pledge—Be Kind, Be Respectful, Be Safe, Have Fun—to help shape what could be their first online messaging experience. Pledge Planets builds on this commitment, helping kids practice their digital citizenship skills in a more relatable, fun and engaging way.
The first episode, “Be Kind,” is rolling out today to all countries where Messenger Kids is available, with new episodes focused on the other pledges coming soon. In this episode, players are introduced to the owner of a sandwich shop who is having trouble interacting with customers. Through two games, kids will learn and practice how to act with kindness:
- Rough Reviews: The sandwich shop has a website where customers can leave comments about their experiences. Players must help the owner read through the reviews and match the correct online response to each one. In doing so, kids will learn to recognize kind and unkind behavior and become familiar with tools like blocking and reporting. The game also provides an option to “relax” and pause the game for a few seconds in exchange for bonus time later, which can help kids learn that it’s okay to take time to think before offering a response.
- Order Up: Customers approach the counter to order a sandwich. In building each one, players must select the emojis that best respond to the customer’s mood. This uses empathy to teach kids how to read and react to various emotional states of people online.
We developed the Messenger Kids Pledge and the Pledge Planets activities in close partnership with Meta’s Youth Advisors, a group of experts in the fields of online safety, child development and children’s media who help us develop new products, features and policies for young people by sharing their expertise, research and guidance. Here’s what a few of the Youth Advisors have to say about the Pledge Planets activity:
Kara Brisson-Boivin, Director of Research, MediaSmarts: “MediaSmarts is glad to see the development of the Pledge Planets activity from Messenger Kids. In our research, young people have told us how important it is for social networks and other digital platforms to communicate community standards and codes of conduct that make clear what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior, as well as making youth aware of the tools available to report misconduct and how those rules are enforced. It’s important to give kids the opportunity to learn and practice these digital citizenship skills.”
Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble, Psychologist and Founder, the AAKOMA Project: “As a parent and behavioral health scientist, I am well aware and well-versed in the importance of emotional well-being for children and teens. This is a particularly critical topic with the onset of the pandemic and the disruption caused to children and families. Recognizing that the internet and electronic devices are an integral part of Gen Z and Gen Alpha lives, one of the most important things we can do as a society is prepare ourselves for this reality and equip caregivers and children with sound tools to help them navigate this terrain. Messenger Kids and the Pledge Planets activity is one way to help lay the groundwork for positive and engaging interactions with the online world.”
To kick off the adventure and start practicing your digital citizenship skills, tap the “Explore” tab in Messenger Kids and select “Pledge Planets.”
About Meta’s Youth Advisors
First convened in 2017, the Youth Advisors are a group of experts in the fields of online safety, child development and children’s media who help us develop new products, features, and policies for young people by sharing their expertise, research and guidance. We meet regularly with the group, which includes the Family Online Safety Institute, Digital Wellness Lab, MediaSmarts, Project Rockit and the Cyberbullying Research Center. We recently expanded this group to add new experts in privacy, youth development, psychology, parenting and youth media, and will continue expanding to include a diverse range of global perspectives.
For more information about Messenger Kids, visit MessengerKids.com or follow our Facebook page for updates.