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Main » Introducing Messenger Kids, a New App For Families to Connect | Facebook Newsroom

Introducing Messenger Kids, a New App For Families to Connect | Facebook Newsroom

08 December 2017

"To give kids and parents a fun, safer solution, we built Messenger Kids, a standalone app that lives on kids' tablets or smartphones but can be controlled from a parent's Facebook account". But as with any electronic devices, parents should closely monitor and regulate children's use of a device and their time spent on it so that it does not displace other developmentally appropriate activities such as outdoor-play, exercise time, or face-to-face interactions with peers.

It is also because of this law that children under 13 years of age can not legally have a fully-featured Facebook account.

If two children want to be friends on Messenger Kids, that friendship has to be approved by a parent for each child. The service won't allow children to add their own friends or delete messages - only parents can do that.

Several major tech firms have recently released products that allow younger children to use their services within the limits of the kids' privacy law - and reach more of the country's 48.8 million children under the age of 13 in the process.

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This is a law that is created to protect kids from online exploitation.

It's important to understand that kids under 13 still can't sign up for a Facebook account. And in response to Wired, the company said its privacy policy - which allows it to collect and share information, including the content of communications, with other companies - is only for "infrastructure" purposes.

Parental control doesn't end at the inception of the account; contacts can only be added if mum, dad or the relevant guardian say so. After talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the U.S., we found that there's a need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want.

The senators say they are concerned about "where sensitive information collected through this app could end up and for what goal it could be used".

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Facebook's focus on younger children raised some alarm bells, however. Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics provided some guidelines that parents may follow in monitoring their kids' use of Facebook, and other forms of digital content. So if a child wants to be able to chat with one of their classmates, their parent must first friend that kid's parent, and then will see the option to approve that adult's child as a contact for their own kid. "I think we're at an interesting moment, and there are a lot of moves into that marketplace".

The app is now only available in the USA on Apple's iOS operating system. Facebook has made a decision to launch a messaging app for children to chat with others approved by their parents. It now seems the company may have similar plans for Instagram.

Facebook's approach may encourage companies to create safer, more limited and legally compliant services for kids, said Larry Magid, chief executive of the nonprofit, one of many organizations Facebook briefed on the product ahead of its launch. "The question becomes do we simply ban them and fight a losing fight?" Messenger Kids will also not feature any advertisements.

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Introducing Messenger Kids, a New App For Families to Connect | Facebook Newsroom