Facebook Messenger gets a T-Rex chatbot for kids

I was disappointed to read recently that according to some modern scientists, far from roaring mightily, dinosaurs might have actually “made sounds closer to the coo of a pigeon or the mumble of an ostrich”.

Boo hiss to that childhood-shattering revelation. Dinosaurs are still fascinating for all ages though, and National Geographic is capitalising on that while doing something clever with the Facebook Messenger app.


It’s teamed up with+rehabstudio to launch what it’s confidently (and surely accurately) describing as “the world’s first T-Red chatbot” for the popular messaging app. It’s called Tina.

The idea is that kids and parents will be able to talk to Tina, asking her questions about the life of a Tyrannosaurus Rex back in the era of the dinosaurs.

Available in the UK, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Tina will apparently be happy to talk (or coo) about her size, speed, habitat and other matters.

Tina is an exciting example of how technology can enhance a child’s learning. Not only is she fun, she’s seriously educational, too,” said National Geographic Kids digital editor Gemma Chandler.

Tina is also part of a big tech trend for chatbots: artificial-intelligence (AI) ‘bots’ that live on apps like Facebook Messenger and interact with you through conversations. More than 18,000 have been created for that app alone so far.

Obviously, Tina is only accessible to children who are on Facebook Messenger (which in theory means they should be 13 and older) although it might be a fun thing for a parent to access on their account with younger kids too.

You can access Tina directly on Messenger by visiting the https://m.me/ngkids/ address, or by clicking the Messenger button on the National Geographic pages for the UK, South Africa and Australasia.

As for that burning question about roars versus coos, after initially trying to distract me with the weather, Tina settled it once and for all:


So that’s that then. Boo hiss. And, indeed, coo.

More to read on Apps Playground
Dino Tales app gets kids turning facts into stories
Get digging for dinosaurs in Dino Dog’s new app
Kids get prehistorically creative with Dinosaur Mix

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