Facebook Debuts Messenger App for Kids

Facebook Debuts Messenger App for Kids

Indeed, the app can only be downloaded through a parent's Facebook account and it is created to give parents a great deal of control over how children use it. Parents completely control the contact list so children cannot add anyone not approved by them.

The bigger question with an app like this is more philosophical; what is the impact of introducing social media to kids at a young age?

Facebook is rolling out a kids version of Facebook Messenger to mixed reaction. They also can not delete messages.

She cited research that shows some 93 percent of US kids ages six to 12 have access to tablets or smartphones - and 66 percent have their own device, often using apps meant for teens and adults.

Kids will not show up in Facebook search results, so if a kid wants to chat with a friend, the parent will have to work with the friend's parent to get them both approved.

Lavallee, who is content strategist at the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard University, called Messenger Kids a "useful tool" that "makes parents the gatekeepers".

It's important to note that kids under 13 are still not allowed to sign up for a Facebook account. But she said that while Facebook made the app "with the best of intentions", it's not yet known how people will actually use it.

Retailers are also adopting Facebook Messenger as a form of communication, not just to sell but for things like shipping notifications.

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"We're going to see how kids are using it, and that will allow us to add updates in future versions as necessary". As The Verge pointed out, we don't know how Facebook-which aggregates data on a massive scale across its social platforms-will monetize Messenger Kids sans ads or use the data it collects on this next generation of users.

Every child account on Messenger Kids must be set up by a parent.

Messenger Kids is launching Monday in the US on Apple devices - the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Then, authenticate your child's device using your own Facebook username and password.

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Finish the setup process by creating an account for your child, where all you'll need to do is provide their name.

The new app - now a "preview" only available in the U.S. and on Apple's iOS - will allow the 6-12s to video chat and send photos, videos or text messages to friends approved by their parents. Facebook has been working on Messenger Kids for the last 18 months, working closely with child development experts, educators, parents, and organizations including the National PTA and Blue Star Families.

To get there, click on "More" on the bottom right corner in your main Facebook app, and click "Messenger Kids" in the Explore section.