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Facebook Launches New Messenger Kids App

05 December 2017
Facebook Launches New Messenger Kids App

Above: Image of Messenger Kids provided by Facebook. Facebook plans to release Android and Amazon versions next year.

At the same time, Facebook is promising not to sell ads into the Messenger Kids stream nor to automatically move the kids onto Facebook when they are eligible. And approved adults can chat with the child using regular Messenger.

Parents would set up "Messenger Kids" through their Facebook account and approve the people that their children are chatting with while using the service.

Right now, you can only do that in a feature-crippled Messenger Kids app available as a preview on USA 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. Melanie Hempe, of Families Managing Media, a company dedicated to helping families instill good technology and social media habits, told the Daily News that kids as young as 6 should not be using social media. "It's actually really great for kids to see how grownups communicate effectively online and you can have the chance to model it for them". Kids can't delete messages either, so theoretically if a child is using inappropriate language, they wouldn't be able to erase what they've said.

Messenger Kids is designed for kids and helps them in connecting with family and close friends.

The service is ad-free but Facebook notes it still collects data about users and their communications in its privacy policy.

The firm's development of a kid-friendly messaging app comes in response to the wide volume of kids who already use tablets and smartphones. Parental permission is required to sign up for the app, she said. And it only works if the parents of the kids who want to talk via Messenger Kids are friends on Facebook themselves.

Facebook Inc on Monday (local time) rolled out Messenger Kids, an app that lets the world's biggest social media company expand into a so-far untapped market of kids under 13 while also giving parents complete control over what their children see.

The application is available for preview in the U.S. and will roll out to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch initially. A recent study from Common Sense Media found that parents are more skeptical of the benefits of social media for their children then they are of smartphones or even wearable devices. The social network also is looking at building controls around how much time a child can spend on the app. Young kids turn into elderly versions of themselves - or babies sucking on pacifiers.

Bernstein says Facebook's development of Messenger Kids is a way of reaching today's young internet-infatuated children so they can connect with friends and family safely with parental oversight and collaboration.