Facebook for kids: welcome to messenger for six-year-olds

07 December, 2017, 02:34 | Author: Yolanda Murray
  • Facebook have launched a Messenger app just for kids

Some children's and privacy groups commended Facebook for saying that Messenger Kids would give parents control over children's messaging and not show ads to children.

Facebook made a big announcement on this week: The company has launched a messaging app that's designed just for kids.

To know more about children's needs, and the risks they face online, Facebook collaborated with various agencies and institutions such as the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Center on Media and Child Health, Connect Safely, and the Sesame Workshop. Rolled out in the U.S. for the moment, Messenger Kids is a stand-alone app that will be available on kids' tablets or smartphones but can be controlled from a parent's Facebook account.

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The app, which launches Monday in the United States, gives the company access to a new market whose age prohibits them from using the firm's main social network.

The child would not be given their own Facebook account, which is prohibited for those under 13.

Does Facebook Messenger Kids have adverts?

Users were presented with the message "chat is now unavailable". More than two billion people use Facebook every month, while its other apps, like Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, have billions of users.

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The NSPCC said the app was "a step in the right direction" because it discourages kids from lying about their age to get an account on Facebook, which has a minimum age of 13.

Marketing mattersFacebook said Messenger Kids will not display any advertisements or it will not collect data for marketing, though it will collect some data so that the app can necessary to run the service.

Loren Cheng, product director for Messenger Kids, said Facebook would not use for marketing purposes the details it collected from children. In a preview yesterday, Facebook promised, via a blog post that, "There are no ads in Messenger Kids and your child's information isn't used for ads". According to a release, Facebook plans to release the app on other platforms such as the Amazon App Store, and the Google Play Store. "Facebook told me they would come back with ideas to PREVENT underage use of their product, but instead they are actively targeting younger children". The service will not allow for the children to add their own friends or even deleting messages - only parents can do that. It also adds Snapchat-like masks and filters, including a "library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets them decorate content and express their personalities".

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It's an early version of the app with limited availability. "The question becomes: Do we simply ban them and fight a losing fight?"

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