Facebook's Messenger Kids lets under-13s chat with parent-approved contacts

Facebook's Messenger Kids lets under-13s chat with parent-approved contacts

While children do use messaging and social media apps designed for teenagers and adults, those services aren't built for them, said Kristelle Lavallee, a children's psychology expert who advised Facebook on designing the service.

The free app is aimed at kids under the age of 13, who can't yet have their own accounts under Facebook's rules, though they often do.

To know more about children's needs, and the risks they face online, Facebook collaborated with various agencies and institutions such as the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Center on Media and Child Health, Connect Safely, and the Sesame Workshop.

Messenger Kids is being trialled in the U.S. as a standalone app for a smartphone or tablet that is controlled from a parent's Facebook account and does not create a main Facebook profile for young users.

Children and parents can block any contacts at any time. "It's just like setting up a play date", Davis said.

Kids still can't be found through Facebook search, which protects their privacy.

Others cautioned that the app raised concerns about children's privacy.

It's important to understand that kids under 13 still can't sign up for a Facebook account.

It is noted that children will be able to complain about those users who are rude when communicating.

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While some parents feel Facebook snaking its way into his children's lives at an early age would most likely do more harm than good some others think that technology going to be adopted by kids is inevitable.

It will allow children and adolescents to exchange messages and video calls without account registration. The app will seek for the approval of parents for both activating an account as well as to add a new contact.

Davis said that Facebook spoke with the Federal Trade Commission to ensure that the app is compliant with COPPA.

Analysts say that messaging apps give Facebook a chance to tap into a younger generation that they have been losing; earlier this year, the company bought tbh - a popular teen messaging app.

Messenger features like location sharing and payments have been stripped out, while the Kids version of Giphy won't let you search for things like "sex". It will also not use data from Messenger Kids for Facebook ads.

It is reported by UNN with reference to the official website of the company.

Every child account on Messenger Kids must be set up by a parent. Parents have to use their Facebook email address and password to activate their child's account, but that does not log a parent into their child's device.

"While we appreciate Facebook taking steps to protect this vulnerable population by including parental controls, establishing an ad-free environment and restricting some data collection, we remain concerned about where sensitive information collected through this app could end up and for what objective it could be used". It also reserves the right to share information with other firms as necessary - such as customer service providers or companies that can help it analyze how the app is being used. The company said it had spent months talking to parenting groups, child behavioural experts and safety organisations to aid in developing the app, as well as thousands of hours interviewing families on the ways members communicate with one another.

Davis said that, if a parent decides to delete their child's account, Facebook will also delete any data from its own servers.

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