Facebook's New Messaging App Hopes to Reach Kids as Young as 6

05 December, 2017, 01:54 | Author: Devin Moran
  • Facebook's New Messaging App Hopes to Reach Kids as Young as 6

The app has also been designed with privacy laws like the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act in mind. It will be soon available for Android and Amazon Kindle devices.

Today Facebook announced a new app called Messenger Kids.

Facebook said it will collect some data, including a child's name, the content of their messages and data about how the app is being used - even if it is not as extensive as the information it asks from adults.

Messenger Kids is launching in preview today for iPhone and iPad users in the USA and will be targeting 6 to 13-year-olds with a child-friendly alternative to the main Messenger app. Parents have to use their own Facebook credentials to authenticate a device for use with the new Messenger Kids app, and parents have full and final say over who the kid is able to connect with through Messenger. 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. Plus, it's FUN for kids to use! "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". From there, parents will be able to add and remove contacts to a child's account.

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

Facebook's New Messaging App Hopes to Reach Kids as Young as 6
Facebook's New Messaging App Hopes to Reach Kids as Young as 6

The firm's development of a kid-friendly messaging app comes in response to the wide volume of kids who already use tablets and smartphones.

"Whether it's using video chat to talk to grandparents, staying in touch with cousins who live far away, or sending mom a decorated photo while she's working late to say hi, Messenger Kids opens up a new world of online communication to families", wrote Loren Cheng, Facebook's product management director in a blog post.

Perhaps most importantly, Facebook is launching Messenger Kids free of ads. That's a departure from Facebook's approach in the past, as when it required users to download the separate Messenger app in 2014 in order to send direct messages on Facebook.

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.

Authenticate: Then, authenticate your child's device using your own Facebook username and password. Parents who set up the service won't be creating a Facebook account for their kids. The social network also is looking at building controls around how much time a child can spend on the app. The company, in its post, said the kids can have access to social media with parental control. Facebook also said it will not automatically move users to the regular Messenger or Facebook when they get old enough, though the company may provide them the option to move contacts to Messenger down the line. Messenger Kids presents another way to tap into a subset of the younger demographic.


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