Facebook made a Messenger app that's just for kids

Messenger Kids

Right now Messenger Kids is designed for sending messages and video chatting, but Facebook hasn't ruled out the possibility of adding new features as it learns more about how people use the app.

And Facebook indicated that it won't use Messenger Kids to monetize children directly - there won't be any ads or in-app purchases.

Messenger Kids is an app where kids can talk or text with family or friends, allowing parents to control the experience through their Facebook account.

"The reality is that kids are going to go use apps if they're under 13", he said. The iPhone only available app is called Messenger Kids. This, combined with the fact that parents have to approve each of their children's contacts, should prevent phony accounts from appearing on the platform, a practice that's become a huge problem for Facebook. The app, Messenger Kids, is a messaging service that gives parents authority over who their kids can chat with. The service won't show ads or collect data for marketing, the company said.




Messenger Kids offers an opportunity to introduce children to the wider Facebook ecosystem, fending off advances from rivals targeting children and teenagers, while locking parents and family into the social network to communicate with their children.

She said, "For a child who is just now starting out in social media to have certain restrictions and parental guidance, that is important". The child does not have a Facebook account, which is prohibited for those under 13; instead the app operates as an extension of the parent's account. If two children want to be friends with each other, each will have to get parental approval for contact.

The company spent months talking to parenting groups, child behavioral experts and safety organizations to develop the app, which should be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act. "But why should parents simply trust that Facebook is acting in the best interest of kids?" said Jim Steyer, executive director of Common Sense Media, in a statement. Facebook has been focusing on capturing younger users as it faces competition from Snapchat. Kids can also block and report users themselves, and parents will find out about it. Facebook will monitor all reports and ban harmful accounts. It's a restrictive system, but one that highlights how tricky it is to give children access to social media, and particularly an app that's operated by one of the world's largest (and most controversial) social media firms.

Messenger Kids will also allow kids to send GIFs and stickers like the full-fledged Messenger, but will have them choose from a curated selection of age-appropriate materials. 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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