Facebook's announced a new set of Christmas-themed additions for Messenger Kids to help youngsters get into the spirit of the season within the app.
As shown in the video, the main addition is the option to chat with Santa, which Facebook also added to Messenger Kids last year. The big advantage of this is that parents get to see and respond to those messages, which can be a covert way to keep the magic of the season alive by gathering intel on what gifts your child wants.
Parents can switch on the Santa messaging option within the app settings, and it will remain active until January 6th, enabling kids to send messages back and forth with Santa.
Facebook's also added a new set of AR tools and stickers for the season:
"Kids around the world can express their holiday spirit throughout December with a series of seasonal AR effects, stickers and frames that will roll out every couple days. Celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas with fun interactive AR effects; send something sweet to your friends and family with the Gingerbread frame — or ring in the new year with 2021 glasses!"
And lastly, Facebook's also added customizable digital holiday cards, which parents can send to their kids via the Parent dashboard.
Amid the COVID-19 lockdowns throughout this year, Messenger Kids has become a more important, connective platform for youngsters, many of whom missed out on spending face-to-face social time with friends at school, at sporting events, etc. That's a key element of childhood development, and with Facebook expanding Messenger Kids to more than 70 new regions back in April, its usage numbers have increased significantly throughout the year.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the number of daily active accounts on Messenger Kids has grown by more than 3.5x since the beginning of March, with Messenger Kids being downloaded some 2.8 million times in April alone. That provides some scope as to the growth of the app, and while some concerns remain around letting youngsters spend time on social media apps, even those designed specifically for them, 2020 has essentially forced it upon many, as a means to maintain some connection.
Given this, these new Christmas features will no doubt be beneficial, and will provide a helpful link for parents within the app.