Dec 07, 2017
Facebook has launched a messenger platform for young children that enables parents to approve and monitor communications. It's a perfect tool for inter-session communications!
In a cat-emoji turn of events, Facebook has released a fully COPPA compliant messaging app that allows trusted adults to manage digital communication between a child and other parties. The move allows children as young as six to engage on the platform, reducing the minimum age from 13, the threshold for COPPA protections.
Tutors should take note of this development: Messenger Kids allows you to strike an important balance in communications with students between sessions. Student needs don't only manifest at session times, so providing a direct line of communication is helpful. On the other hand, when dealing with younger children having appropriate parental oversight is a must. By putting control in the hands of parents Facebook is giving tutors a middle path: safe, effective communications that are transparent to parents.
As with all things, there are a few caveats: first, Facebook does collect data on these conversations. If that's a problem for you, the parent, or the child, Facebook is probably a bad choice. Second, while having a direct line of communication with students is both best practice and valuable, be sure to set norms and manage your availability accordingly. It's easy to fall into the trap of responding within seconds, but there's a balance where you can both protect your time and attend to the student's needs.
While Facebook may be an unlikely champion of tutoring, it's a safe bet that parents will adopt their tools due to Facebook's ubiquity in our lives. Familiarizing yourself with the platform now will ensure that you are able to suggest appropriate options for students and their parents. Happy chatting!
banner image from http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42232475.
Facebook's New Messaging App hopes to Reach Kids as Young as 6: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-12-04-facebook-s-new-messaging-app-hopes-to-reach-kids-as-young-as-6