Facebook Launches Messenger Kids For Children Below 13 With Parental Control

Facebook Launches Messenger Kids For Children Below 13 With Parental Control

Right now, you can only do that in a feature-crippled Messenger Kids app available as a preview on U.S. iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches, but a Google Play and Amazon App Store expansion will definitely happen "in the coming months", and the general concept might be something worth exploring for the larger Facebook platform as well.

Facebook rolled out Monday a version of its popular Messenger app for kids under 13.

Facebook is launching a messaging app for children so they can communicate with their parents and parent-approved friends.

"[Messenger Kids] doesn't overcome the issues of screen time and screen use and all the other issues that go with technology and kids", Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, told The Post.

Messenger Kids will be available in the App Store for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone devices for those in the United States, and will be coming to Amazon App Store and Google Play Store in the coming months.

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"When we heard about the need for better apps directly from parents during research and conversations with parents, we knew we needed to develop it alongside with the people who were going to use it, as well as experts who could help guide our thinking", Cheng said in a statement. Facebook said it has also created privacy and security measures to give parents transparency and control over their kids' online activities. 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.

Now the app is only available for iOS, although Android support is expected. Kids can't delete messages either, so theoretically if a child is using inappropriate language, they wouldn't be able to erase what they've said. The service won't show ads or collect data for marketing, the company said. The child will not have his or her own Facebook account. The reasoning behind this, says Facebook, is to avoid forcing parents and other relatives to download an extra app.

Messenger Kids may be completely separate from Facebook's other apps, but a lot of the parental management happens through Facebook.

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

Above: Image of Messenger Kids provided by Facebook. Facebook has been focusing on capturing younger users as it faces competition from Snapchat. The social network also is looking at building controls around how much time a child can spend on the app. The account will be in Messenger Kids app and will automatically migrate to original Messenger account when they turn 13.

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