One thing that instantly annoyed me about Messenger Kids is that there are so many distractions from the core features of messaging and video calls. There are filters, stickers, and mini games (like spinning to choose a llama head during a video chat… go figure… kids love it!).
My 6 year old is SO drawn to these features as are her friends. So far, this is their main interest during video calls. They don’t talk very much. They just play.
Initially, I kept prompting in the background, “ask them what they’ve been doing”, “stop playing with the effects and talk!”
Then I took a step back and thought, this is what they want to do. This is play. They’re only 6/7 and if they were playing together in the same room, they probably wouldn’t be sitting chatting about what they’ve been up to. They’d probably be playing in a way that’s sometimes hard for adults to understand.
So my way of thinking now is that it’s okay. Maybe the novelty won’t last. However, when my daughter is talking to her grandparents, for example, I’m insisting that she talks rather than simply playing with the effects. It’s about changing your interactions to suit who you are communicating with; a vital lesson for both online and offline encounters.
I always enjoy the way in which you break things down in your posts, thank you. In particular, I was left thinking about your point about play and how students interact online.