Facebook Now Has a Messenger App for Kids

Facebook now has a messaging app just for kids

The free app, called Messenger Kids, hopes to attract parents looking for a safe online chat service, with a greater level of parental control, child-friendly features, screened content and safety filters to prevent children sharing inappropriate content. After talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the United States, 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. This law requires companies targeting children under 13 to take extra steps to safeguard privacy and security.

Facebook has launched a new version of Facebook Messenger, aimed at children under the age of 13. Facebook does reserve the right to share your child's data with third-parties so that is something you should be aware of.

Though it is undeniable that Facebook will benefit from getting young people accustomed to using its products - providing a toehold with a demographic it's had persistent troubles with - Marcus said there is no "migration plan" to bring children using Messenger Kids onto the core Messenger product.

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.

If your kids are going to message friends and family, wouldn't you rather have them do it safely and securely?

Facebook says parents wanted one feature above all. The spokesperson said that Facebook will continue to update the enforcement of its policies depending on the types of content that Messenger Kids users report. This will not create a Facebook account for your child or give them access to your Facebook account.

Messages sent to adults or those over 13 appear in their normal Facebook Messenger app. Parents control contacts and other options through their Facebook app on their smartphone.

Both kids and parents can block contacts at any time.

At six or seven, for some kids it's the Rainbow Fairies, for others it's Captain Underpants, for some it's Harry Potter, but regardless of the stories this is the age where - if the kid manages to sail between the Scylla of video games and the Charybdis of YouTube - many kids cross that magical barrier between listening to stories other people read to them and being able to read independently. Although Facebook remains the largest social network - and Messenger has grown into one of the most popular messaging platforms in the world - signing up new users now presents a new challenge, given how mature and wide-reaching they already are.

Think of Messenger Kids as a kind of stripped-down version of the regular Messenger app, but with a bunch of extra parental controls. "But why should parents simply trust that Facebook is acting in the best interest of kids?"

But concerns over Messenger Kids will likely linger.

As YouTube found out when disturbing videos found their way onto YouTube Kids, trying to make a child-safe space is hard - a minority of people will always be looking at ways to get around protections. This preview is available on the App Store for iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone.

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