Facebook Launches Messenger Kids For Children Below 13 With Parental Control

Delia Watkins
December 5, 2017

Facebook said it has also created privacy and security measures to give parents transparency and control over their kids' online activities.

So it comes as little surprise then that Facebook says the majority of parents with young children are concerned about their kids potentially interacting with strangers online. It will be soon available for Android and Amazon Kindle devices.

This experience is tailored to devices that are given to kids, not the smartphones or tablets that parents use, which may already have a Messenger app installed. In a study conducted by Facebook and the National Parent Teacher Association, 81% of 1,200 American parents surveyed reported that their children started using social media apps between the ages of eight and 13.

The parent-controlled app allows Mom and Dad to decide who their child can have on their contact list.Once a contact like a child's best friend or an aunt or cousin is added, they can chat freely with that person using the service. As is the case with the regular Facebook app, the camera in Messenger Kids is loaded with stickers and effects - all of which have been made specifically for the child-friendly app and aren't available in Facebook's other services. "We're going to see how kids are using it, and that will allow us to add updates in future versions as necessary". "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 will be able to send photos, videos or other messages to relatives or other contacts accessible through the primary Messenger app, and vice versa.

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

Once parents download the app to their child's iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone, they will authenticate it with their Facebook account.

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First, it keeps children away from Facebook proper, and second, it gives parents complete control over their child's Messenger Kids accounts.

Dr. Lewis Bernstein, former executive vice president of Education, Research and Outreach for the Sesame Workshop, compares the development of Messenger Kids over the last 18 months to those early years of developing "Sesame Street", the long-running, iconic show that now airs on HBO and re-airs on PBS.

In a lengthy post, Facebook product management director Loren Cheng wrote that the social network worked with parenting experts to develop a platform that would allow kids to "connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want".

Now the app is only available for iOS, although Android support is expected.

Facebook, like other social media sites, requires that users be at least 13 years old to sign up for an account.

Facebook has taken a few more steps to ensure that Messenger Kids is not plagued with any loopholes.

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