Facebook launches messenger for kids

Dec 05, 2017, 01:13
Facebook launches messenger for kids

According to Davis' pitch it seems that Facebook intends to highlight that with Messenger Kids parents can at least control what their children are doing with the app.

To ensure that the app does not meddle in any controversy, consent of a parent is important before registering for the app or adding new contacts.

There's a simple reason Facebook is starting to focus on children: Kids are already using technology anyway. The goal with "Sesame Street", which aired its first episode in 1969, was to educate children by taking advantage of their infatuation with the "powerful medium" of television. While that's probably for the best, Facebook still offers tools that are handy for keeping in touch - specifically Messenger - and now you have an new option if you'd like to let your child have a presence on Messenger while at the same time staying away from the larger Facebook ecosystem.

Right now, you can only do that in a feature-crippled Messenger Kids app available as a preview on United States 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.

Parents have to use their Facebook email address and password to activate their child's account, but that does not log a parent into their child's device.

The new Facebook Messenger for kids app lets those younger than 13 communicate with others via Messenger. It's completely independent of the flagship Facebook and Messenger apps, and is compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act. Facebook plans to release Android and Amazon versions next year.

Facebook also said that it will block children from sharing nudity, sexual or violent content, and have a dedicated moderation team to respond to flagged content. But text-based conversations are also possible, just like the regular Messenger app. Features like emoji, GIFs, stickers, selfie frames and even AR experiences are available inside the app. Facebook has been focusing on capturing younger users as it faces competition from Snapchat. The app, which does not require a phone number for making an account, rules out the possibility of anyone outside the contact list from connecting with the kid. That is still restricted to children age 13 and up. The social network also is looking at building controls around how much time a child can spend on the app.

Parents are in full control of who their child interacts with on Messenger Kids.

Underage users will not be automatically moved to the regular Messenger or Facebook accounts when they become old enough, the company said. Facebook won't migrate kids over to its "adult" apps when children reach that age, but it's easy to see that happening on its own.

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