Microsoft launches Windows Live Messenger for Kids

Microsoft has just launched Windows Live Messenger for Kids, however there is a bit of a twist. The service is currently only available in German, and is aimed at 8-10 year olds. It is actually a form of web messaging, but requires a download and installs a executable.

A Microsoft Spokesperson told me in an e-mail that, "Windows Live Messenger for kids is specifically designed to provide a safe entry in the Instant Messaging world." The concept behind this release is that parents are the ones who create the account for their children and are present when they sign in. The parents must then approve who appears in the contact list. There is a emergency call button in which the user can click if they feel threatened or harassed, which will notify the parents of the situation. Conversations are limited to text and emoticons only, with no file transfers or display pictures.

At first glimpse of the service, it is definitely aimed for kids. Check out the screenshots:

Microsoft seems to be moving in the right direction in providing parents tools to keep children safe online. What do you think?

Kudos to Picturepan2 for alerting us!

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Its amazing to see how much progress Microsoft is making, with Windows 7 coming up and the live services getting better, they're improving non-stop and totally in the right direction.

It's an embedded website using the Messenger Library, so don't wonder that it doesn't look like the "real" Messenger...

Currently with Live Family Safty you can link your kids accounts and then only allow contacts that you pre-approve.

The idea of taking this one step further and blocking some unsafe aspects of Messenger like transfers, display pictures and video chat is a really good idea. Just a shame they decided to remove web filtering from windows.


McDave said,
Currently with Live Family Safty you can link your kids accounts and then only allow contacts that you pre-approve.

Yeah; I have done this for my 9-year-old so he could get a Silver Xbox Live account. I don't know what options this gives me in the Instant Messaging realm though as he doesn't use IM (nor has he ever brought it up).

Hah, I like that little design they've got going.

You'd figure since Microsoft's HQ is here in the U.S. all their development would be introduced here first. I just wonder why they wouldn't release it here. Something to do with the law since it's meant towards kids maybe?

The idea behind Windows Live Messenger for Kids is to make chatting safer for children age 8-12. To quote Heise Online:

The concept behind it is that only the parents know the password; thus they have to be present when starting the messenger. Also the parents have to approve who may appear in the contact list. Transferring files, photos or videos is blocked.
Should a child feel mobbed or harassed still (s)he can click the 'Notruf' (=emergency call) button and send their parents an email this way. The child also learns a lot about privacy on the internet, with the program telling him/her 'We have saved the chat you are uncomfortable with.' The child can also mail the chat log to his/her parents.

Personally I think this is a great idea.

Maybe this will finally cut down on all those spam viruses kids seem to some how get, I only have 1 kid on my list (ex girlfriends brother) and the amount of "find out who blocked you" messages i get from 'him' is unbelievable.

Microsoft has released some rubbish products in it's time but this.. what the hell is the point of it? And it's only in German!

thealexweb said,
Microsoft has released some rubbish products in it's time but this.. what the hell is the point of it? And it's only in German!

imo: