Kid-focused Meta Messenger app gets dark mode, new voice effects


Messenger Kids, the kid-friendly version of Meta’s Messenger service (aka Facebook Messenger), is being updated with a dark mode, along with new audio effects for voicemail messages, the service said.

Dark Mode arrived in the main Messenger app in early 2019, but it is now also arriving in the version of the app designed for children between the ages of six and 12. Perfect for all kids getting ready for a tough teen goth phase. This is first the iOS version of the app, followed by Android.

Meanwhile, voice effects will roll out in the coming weeks and, like the service’s dark mode, will arrive on iOS first. They sound like a fun addition, working with the service’s existing voicemail feature to let a child sound like a robot, ghost, gorilla, mouse, or talking into a seashell. The five options appear after recording a voicemail message, allowing you to adjust it before it is sent.

There are five vocal effects to choose from.
Image: Meta

Along with these two new features, Messenger Kids is also adjusting its games functionality to allow kids to start built-in two-player games from a chat using the orange controller icon. These were previously stored in a separate Explore tab. This change comes first on iOS, followed by Android.

While it has not been without its share of controversy, Messenger Kids has largely gone under the radar in recent years. Especially compared to Instagram, which was forced to publicly distance itself from reports it was working on a version of Instagram for children under 13 earlier this year. But with those harmless features like audio effects and a tightly parent-controlled design, Messenger Kids has largely escaped similar levels of criticism.

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