Messenger Kids: Facebook launches app for tech-savvy under 13s

Messenger Kids: Facebook launches app for tech-savvy under 13s

Messenger Kids: Facebook launches app for tech-savvy under 13s

The social network said it recognised a "need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love" but "but also has the level of control parents want". Once this is done, the kids can start chatting with the contacts that are approved by their parents.

There are no ads or in-app purchases in Messenger Kids, and Facebook said the app is compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), which requires a company targeting users under 13 to adhere to certain requirements, such as gaining parental consent before it collects users' personal information.

On the last Monday, the Messenger Kids came out in the USA as an app for Apple devices - the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Once it is installed on a young person's tablet or smartphone it can be controlled using an adult Facebook account, who must pre-approve who they can talk to. We were able to create numerous fake profiles under one 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.

Loren Cheng, product management director, said Facebook staff had already been testing the app with their families at home.

Kids will also have access to GIFs, stickers and other content Facebook said has been vetted to ensure it's appropriate for children. Instead, it's built specifically for kids, ages 6 to 13, with Facebook pitching the app as a way to message friends and family walled off from predators and inappropriate content.

Hundreds of users were left clueless when they found their favourite social network messenger/chatting service, Facebook messenger down due to a worldwide outage. Messenger Kids is interoperable with the main Messenger app, so adults don't actually have to download the Kids app.

"This app could put pressure on parents to introduce social media earlier to children who may not have developed the emotional resilience to cope with engaging with others online".

It's important to note that kids under 13 are still not allowed to sign up for a Facebook account. Though, there are a few issues with this initial release, Facebook is taking steps in the right direction with Messenger Kids in that it keeps strangers out.

That's why it was smart that Facebook tasked Cheng with leading the project.

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