Facebook Debuts Messenger App for Kids

Henrietta Strickland
December 7, 2017

In fact, Swartz says this law which prevents children under 13 from having regular Facebook accounts may be one reason the app was created.

The free app is aimed at kids under 13, who can't yet have their own accounts under Facebook's rules, though they often do.

It's important to note that kids under 13 are still not allowed to sign up for a Facebook account.

In a company blog post, Antigone Davis - public policy director and global head of safety at Facebook - wrote that the media site has been working on the product for the past 18 months, working closely with leading child development experts, parents and educators.

"Adam Alter writes about this in Irresistible, and one of the first points he makes is numerous Silicon Valley giants - like Steve Jobs - allegedly didn't let their kids use the technologies they were inventing".

Messenger Kids, meanwhile, 'is a result of seeing what kids like, ' which is images, emoji and the like.

There's a lot to be said for keeping kids off the Internet and encouraging them to communicate in real life.

To protect the privacy of its youngest users, Facebook says it will collect "little data" from those who use the app. It's a hard decision as to when your children are old enough to be given a certain amount of Internet freedom and many parents are likely to prefer to do this in a controlled manner compared to the alternative of free rein on the adult Internet. And it won't just be for communication that they use messaging tools, they'll be using it for so much more including shopping. The problem with this logic is it simply accepts that kids will spend hours buried in these apps. The app is for children below 13 years where the content will be screened and parents need to approve whatever goes on in the messenger.

Retailers are also adopting Facebook Messenger as a form of communication, not just to sell but for things like shipping notifications.

"We're going to see how kids are using it, and that will allow us to add updates in future versions as necessary".

Facebook on Monday announced it would be rolling out a preview of Messenger Kids in the United States, a new parent-controlled app to make it easier for kids to video chat and message with loved ones. But Facebook says Messenger Kids was created with the goal of providing a safe online experience tailored to kids' needs.

Then, authenticate your child's device using your own Facebook username and password. They'll still have to build a traditional Facebook account from scratch when they're ready. Instead, parents can download the app on their child's iPhone or iPad, create their profile and approve friends and family for their kids to chat with directly from the main Messenger app. To get there, click on "More" on the bottom right corner in your main Facebook app, and click "Messenger Kids" in the Explore section.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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