Morning show insider: Connecting kids with their friends during the coronavirus crisis

Messenger Kids
Messenger Kids

DETROIT – This coronavirus crisis is hard on all of us. It's disrupting our daily lives in so many ways. Many of us are able to adjust and navigate through this the best we can, but this can be especially hard on our children.

Kids are used to going to school, sports practice, boy/girl scout meetings, band practice and all sorts of activities every day. They’re busy little people - interacting with their friends all the time. But, the coronavirus crisis has put all of that to a screeching halt. With that, they lost important face-to-face time with their buddies.

I’ve got three young kids -- so they have each other through this, thankfully, but they’re all getting a little tired of each other. There’s no replacement for laughing with a best buddy. It’s something they were missing, until someone suggested Facebook Messenger Kids.

My kids are too young to have their own Facebook page, so I was initially hesitant about signing them up for this. So, I did a little research, and it appears to be harmless.

The good news -- parents have complete control over who their kids talk to. You pick their contacts. They don't have that choice.

It's described by Facebook as "a free video calling and messaging app for smartphones and tablets. Parents control the contact list, and kids control the fun. Keep in touch with close friends and family with fun-filled features like filters and stickers."

Another good thing -- there are no in-app purchases or ads.

Once I signed up my three kids, they started getting messages and calls from their friends. They were doing face-to-face chats with mini-games and laughing -- hard. It was so comforting to me. They were so excited to see their friends’ faces, hear their voices and their jokes.

Also - it’s not just for chatting with their friends. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and more can connect with them using their Messenger app. Approved adults can easily message and video chat with kids via the Messenger app - no additional app download is needed (they have to be on the approved contact list).

While this is no replacement for real life interaction with friends and family, it’s a great replacement during this coronavirus crisis.

As a parent of three kids on the verge of cabin fever - I’d suggest giving this a try. Here’s how you can sign up.

Reminder from the Local 4 News Today team: Until further notice, we have suspended our Tasty Tuesday segments. This is to follow Governor Whitmer and the CDC’s directive to avoid large gatherings. As you’ve probably seen in the many years we been doing this segment, restaurants often see a large increase in business following the segment - which we love - but at this time, we do not want to encourage large gatherings. So, we hope you’ll understand our decision to hold off on Tasty Tuesday -- temporarily. We look forward to introducing you to new mom and pop businesses in the near future.

Here’s what we’re working on for Tuesday, March 24th on Local 4 News Today --

All Morning – Sun and Clouds

Paul Gross: Look for a sun and cloud mix on Tuesday, with highs in the mid to upper 40s (8 to 9 degrees Celsius). East-northeast wind at 4 to 8 mph. Increasing clouds Tuesday night, with lows in the mid to upper 30s (3 degrees Celsius).

  • Get the full forecast here

We will also be keeping an eye on the roads all morning.

  • Check traffic conditions in your neighborhood here

All Morning - Coronavirus Crisis in Michigan

With every day comes a new development in the coronavirus crisis in Michigan. We’ll bring you the latest overnight developments when you wake up.

Get caught up here --

6:40 a.m. - Pets and the Coronavirus Pandemic

Have you thought much about your pets’ during this pandemic? Chances are, even they know something isn’t quite right. Experts will have important information for pet owners.

All Morning – Reading Month!

March is Reading Month! We want to see your pictures and/or read to your kids’ school. Wake up with us and you could see pictures of your kids on TV!


National Days: March 24th

  • National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day
  • National Cheesesteak Day
  • National American Diabetes Association Alert Day

History Highlights: March 24th

  • In 1882, German scientist Robert Koch (kohk) announced in Berlin that he had discovered the bacillus responsible for tuberculosis.
  • In 1958, Elvis Presley was inducted into the U.S. Army at the draft board in Memphis, Tennessee, before boarding a bus for Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. (Presley underwent basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, before being shipped off to Germany.)
  • In 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez (vahl-DEEZ’) ran aground on a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound and began leaking an estimated 11 million gallons of crude oil.

Celebrity Birthdays: March 24th

Celebrating a birthday Tuesday? Submit a Sunshine Award here and we could say your name on Local 4 News Today during our 6 a.m. show.

  • Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti is 101.
  • Actor William Smith (“Conan the Barbarian,” “Any Which Way You Can”) is 87.
  • Comedian Louie Anderson is 67.
  • Actor Robert Carradine is 66.
  • Actress Donna Pescow is 66.
  • Actress Kelly LeBrock is 60.
  • TV personality Star Jones is 58.
  • Actress Lara Flynn Boyle is 50.
  • Actor Jim Parsons is 47.
  • Actress Alyson Hannigan is 46.
  • Actress Jessica Chastain is 43.
  • Actor Amir Arison (“The Blacklist”) is 42.
  • Actor Philip Winchester (“Chicago Justice,” “Chicago Med”) is 39.

Here’s who you’re sharing a birthday with –

Local 4 News Today links

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