Facebook unveils messaging App for kids

Posted December 06, 2017

Today, in the United States, we're rolling out a preview of Messenger Kids, a new app that makes it easier for kids to safely video chat and message with family and friends when they can't be together in person.

To use Messenger Kids, parents can download the app from the App Store and authenticate it with their own Facebook credentials, thereafter contacts can be added via the "Explore" section.

Facebook's new messaging app allows children to share pictures, texts and videos, but will allow parents some control over what messages are sent.

Facebook's rules require that children be at least 13 to create an account, but many are believed to get around the restrictions.

Chief executive Javed Khan said: "We have serious concerns about young children using Messenger Kids and would urge Facebook to work with child safety experts before introducing it in the United Kingdom to protect children from grooming or sharing inappropriate images". Though this new app for now is only available in the US, Facebook says, but has upcoming plans to extend it in the field of iOS and Google Play Store within next few months. But parents dictate whom their kids can talk to.

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It's important to understand that kids under 13 still can't sign up for a Facebook account. "Sometimes after 5 or 10 minutes it's really hard to have a sustained conversation with a 7-year-old", but kids can joke around with Grampa using the selfie filters when they run out of run-on stories to tell them.

Common Sense Media, a USA non-profit "dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families", has looked extensively at the proliferation of social media use among young children.

Critics have claimed Messenger Kids is an attempt for the social network to shore up its next generation of users.

Update: While Facebook is now working properly for most of the users, its messenger and chat services are still facing down time.

The app may be built for kids to use, but parents are the ones in the driver's seat.

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Messenger Kids is launching in the USA from Monday, but a United Kingdom launch date has not been confirmed.

"Why should parents simply trust that Facebook is acting in the best interest of kids?"

Messenger Kids comes here with a swing and slew of the controls for their parents.

"The risk of exposure to things [children] were not developmentally prepared for is huge", said Kristelle Lavallee, a children's psychology expert who worked with Facebook to develop the app, reports The Guardian.

Parents are the ones who create the account, since you can't technically have a Facebook unless you're 13.

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While some users were not sure whether they were the only ones affected, others hilariously tweeted that Messenger going down means the end is quite near. " said Loren Cheng, Product Management Director, Facebook".