Facebook's messaging app for children, aptly called Messenger Kids, is getting a significant update starting today. The update brings a brand-new look for the app, but availability is pretty limited for now - only iPhone users in the United States and Canada will see it, though Facebook plans to expand to more countries and devices in the coming months.
The new app brings some notable changes, starting with a tabbed design for the inbox, with Chat and Explore tabs allowing children to switch between conversations and other activities like games. The Chat tab also now brings the most recent conversations to the top, and it's now possible to see message and media previews without opening the chat. Additionally, it's now possible to swipe on a conversation in the inbox to start a call with the user in question.
Another new feature, which has been in the main Messenger app for some time, is the ability to choose different colors for the chat bubbles in a conversation.
Aside from the new looks, the app is the same as before, with the same parental controls that allow parents to keep an eye on their children's activities on the platform. Parents can manage their kids' contacts and see media shared recently in their chats, as well as delete anything potentially inappropriate. The kid-oriented app has no ads or in-app purchases, and it doesn't automatically create a Facebook profile for the child now or in the future.