Facebook introduces Messenger Kids app in the US

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Plus, when the company combines its social graphs like this it's able to better connect the dots when there's overlap (potentially meaning more social data for advertisers in the long run). But the prevention methods are trivial, meaning more than 20 million under-13-year-olds are thought to be using the network.

So how does Facebook plan to moderate its Kids 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.

The Messenger Kids allow the kids to sent messages or make video calls with the contacts approved by their parents.

Facebook says its work on the app was informed by conversations with thousands of parents and child development and online safety experts, as well as associations such as the National Parent Teacher Association. Then the device can be handed over to the child so they can start chatting with the family and friends you approve. Parents create and control their children's accounts and contacts, meaning kids can only message with users their parents have approved, and parents are additionally notified when their children report users for bullying.

But because it's a standalone service, Messenger Kids accounts are treated much differently than the typical Facebook account. "A website operator must include in a privacy policy, when and how to seek verifiable consent form a parent and what responsibilities an operator has to protect children's privacy and safety online".

On its part, Facebook said the app is meant to address a real issue families with young kids face: balancing the desire to be connected on social media with safety. There are also no in-app purchases within the app, which is also a big relief for the parents. The company also says the app is created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). The child does not have a Facebook account, which is prohibited for those under 13; instead the app operates as an extension of the parent's account. That's a brilliant move to force a new generation into the biggest social network in the world and ensure growth for the company.

They can only use the service if a parent - who must have a Facebook account of their own - sets it up on their behalf.

She said, "For a child who is just now starting out in social media to have certain restrictions and parental guidance, that is important".

Is Messenger Kids simply a way for Facebook to rope in the young ones?

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