Facebook Messenger for Kids: Will you let your kids use it?

Facebook Messenger Kids

With Emphasis on Safety Facebook Messenger Kids Launches This Week

Facebook Messenger Kids "makes parents the gatekeepers" and was designed "with the best of intentions", Lavallee said.

"After talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the USA, we found that there's a need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want", said Loren Cheng, Facebook's Product Management Director.

Facebook said it developed the app using input from parents and more than a dozen "expert advisors in the areas of child development, online safety, and children's media and technology".

It will be interesting to see parents reaction to this new app for kids under 13.

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Parents have to be Facebook friends with the parents of any kid that their kid wants to talk to, a Facebook product manager said at a press briefing, according to BuzzFeed. Facebook says it will have an Android version of the app ready to go soon, but for now, kids are limited to chatting on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. Kids today have at their disposable a number of methods that allow them to communicate with friends and relatives, be it a traditional phone call, an email message, or perhaps even a text, if they have their own cell phone. You have a lot of say over who your kids connect with thanks to Messenger Kids so you won't have to worry about online predators or anything similar. Parents fully control the contact list and kids can't connect with contacts that their parent does not approve.

Facebook's child-friendly venture comes as other tech companies like YouTube struggle with kid content on their platform. These controls are accessible through the main Facebook app.

Facebook is now rolling out the app for iOS users in the United States, while the Android version is expected to launch soon. "Is technology good for kids, or is it having adverse effects on their social skills and health?" and "do we know the long-term effects of screen time?" It is free to download and there are no in-app purchases. Amazon has also added kid-focused "skills" to its Echo smart speakers, which require a parent's permission to activate.

Facebook also said that it will block children from sharing nudity, sexual or violent content, and have a dedicated moderation team to respond to flagged content.

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Messenger Kids works on iOS platforms. The company argued that the app's protections against child predators and online exploitation make it suitable for kids as young as six. Kids can't delete messages either, so theoretically if a child is using inappropriate language, they wouldn't be able to erase what they've said.

How - and if - the app ends up getting used remains to be seen.

"But in all of our research, there was one theme that was consistent: parents want to know they're in control". The move gives Facebook a way to court younger users, with their parents' permission. Facebook says Messenger Kids is also created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act, or COPPA.

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