Facebook launches Messenger Kids

Otis Hoffman
December 6, 2017

Children under 13 are now not allowed to use Facebook, but the company has launched a new messaging app, aimed at those as young as six - which needs parental approval before it can be used.

Messenger Kids requires an adult to set up the app for their child and manage the child's contacts in a parental control panel featured in the main Facebook app. Kids can chat with standard Messenger users, pending parental approval, so parents don't need to download Messenger Kids themselves to communicate with their children. The app does collect the content of children's messages, photos they send, features they use, and what device they're using them on, apparently to make life better (for who?) with the app, i.e. improve the functionality of Messenger Kids.

Children using Facebook Kids will also be able to access "a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets them decorate content and express their personalities", the company said. Once this is done, the kids can start chatting with the contacts that are approved by their parents.

Per Facebook's Product Management Director, Loren Cheng, the app has been launched after productive discussions with over thousands of parents, associations like National PTA and Blue Star Families as well as advisors in the field of child development, online safety and children's media and technology.

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The free Messenger Kids app is connected to parents' Facebook accounts.

Messenger Kids is only available on iOS, but will launch on Amazon and Google app stores in the coming months. It doesn't create an account for my too-young children.

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The health secretary said he had spoken to the company and claimed it had pledged to take tougher action to stop underage children using its network.

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Social media just got a little more kid friendly!

The move opens up a new way for Facebook to compete with Snap's disappearing-photo and chat app, which is popular among younger teenagers. "Viewed in that light, building a pipeline of 6-year-old users in the name of protecting them from child predators is part of a long tradition".

After creating a Messenger Kids profile, parents can add contacts directly from their Facebook friends list, including family members and kids of your friends. This is why Facebook and many other social media companies prohibit younger kids from joining. First, download the Messenger Kids app on your child's iPad, iPod touch or iPhone from the App Store.

While some users were not sure whether they were the only ones affected, others hilariously tweeted that Messenger going down means the end is quite near.

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