Facebook launches new messaging app made for kids

05 December, 2017, 02:18 | Author: Randy Kelley
  • Facebook Messenger Kids requires parents to set up an account and approve their children’s contacts

But Facebook says parents have complete control of the app, through their own accounts, from which they must approve all of their children's contacts before kids can begin chatting.

While parents might love Messenger Kids, it remains to be seen if children will want use an app that their parents control.

Setting up the new Facebook Messenger for kids app is something that parents have to do.

Messenger for Kids launched Monday and is now only available through the Apple App Store, with Amazon and Google Play appearing "in the coming months", the Facebook press release said.

Right now, you can only do that in a feature-crippled Messenger Kids app available as a preview on U.S. iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches, but a Google Play and Amazon App Store expansion will definitely happen "in the coming months", and the general concept might be something worth exploring for the larger Facebook platform as well. Messenger Kids is designed as a legal way for kids to participate.

Neither of the Fountas children - 6-year-old son Jack does not have an account - have smart phones so the Messenger app gives them a fun way to talk with their out-of-state grandmother, Fountas said.

No ads means that Facebook will collect "little data" since it won't be doing targeted advertising towards kids on Messenger Kids. My guess is, probably the hell not-not when so many kids have their own personal devices that connect to the internet. Children can't add contacts without their parents' approval first, and should one of those contacts become troublesome, parents can block them directly.

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"Kids as young as 10 years old easily get 300 text messages a day from social media interactions; this is too stressful".

As of today, Messenger Kids is only launching on the iOS App Store. It will be soon available for Android and Amazon Kindle devices. Every child account on Messenger Kids must be set up by a parent.

Messenger Kids will also allow kids to send GIFs and stickers like the full-fledged Messenger, but will have them choose from a curated selection of age-appropriate materials.

Research shows most kids 6-13 are already on social media or messaging apps like Snapchat & Musically that don't protect against stranger danger.

Kristelle Lavallee, a children's psychology expert who advised Facebook on designing the service, called it a "useful tool" but also noted, "The risk of exposure to things they were not developmentally prepared for is huge".

Sensing it could face criticism for developing a product that would help convert kids to regular Facebook users after they turn thirteen, Facebook cleverly prepared a defense in advance, notes The Verge.

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