Facebook Launches Messenger for Kids

'Stay away from my kids!': Jeremy Hunt lashes Facebook for releasing an app aimed at children instead of stopping them signing up in the first place

FEW big technology companies have dared to create online products for boys and girls aged 13 and younger.

The health secretary accused the company of "targeting younger children" after Facebook announced on Monday that it was conducting trials of an app called Messenger Kids in the United States, which is created to be used by pre-teens. Some parents are saying Facebook's snaking its way into children's lives at an early age would most likely do more harm than good. "Do children really need that yet?"

JEREMY HUNT today blasted Facebook for launching a new app aimed directly at under-13s despite promising to protect young children. But the prevention methods are trivial, meaning more than 20 million under-13-year-olds are thought to be using the network.

"The reality is that kids are going to go use apps if they're under 13", he said.

While working together with these agencies, Facebook came up with a set of guidelines that helped them in conceptualizing Messenger Kids.

To access the parental controls panel for Messenger Kids, go to the main Facebook app on your device, then click on "More" on the bottom right corner, followed by "Messenger Kids" in the Explore section. The app is compliant with COPPA, it added. Parents shouldn't, for example, see an ad for a toy on Facebook because their child talked about it on Messenger Kids. After talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the U.S., 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.

"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", notes Cheng in a statement. If two children want to be friends with each other, each will have to get parental approval for contact.

The app is fairly limited in scope, allowing for text and video chat, as well as sending photos. Facebook's safeguards have made it more hard for strangers to contact a child, they said.

Messenger Kids will of course collect data: the child's name, the content of the messages, and typical usage reports for how the app is used.

How does Facebook Messenger Kids work?

According to a release, Facebook plans to release the app on other platforms such as the Amazon App Store, and the Google Play Store.

The outage follows a similar problem for Facebook Messenger on November 30, when users reported being unable to send messages.

If a child does decide to join full Facebook, it will be a brand new account with no data carried over from what was said on Messenger Kids. Others cautioned that the app raised concerns about children's privacy. These guiding principles aim to make the new app both safe and fun for children.

Facebook has recently made the new Messenger Kids app available to the public.

Related News: