Is Facebook Messenger Kids Safe?

Dec 06, 2017, 00:43
Is Facebook Messenger Kids Safe?

After talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the United States, 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 new app called Messenger Kids is exactly what it sounds like: a messaging service that lets kids message and video chat with each other so long as both sets of parents OK the contact beforehand.

Facebook requires users to be 13 or older to have a profile on its social network and the app is the first targeted at children under that age.

The app is now available only on Apple App Store and will subsequently be released on Amazon App Store and Google Play Store in the coming months.

Once it is installed on a young person's tablet or smartphone it can be controlled using an adult Facebook account, who must pre-approve who they can talk to. It will be linked to an adults' Facebook account.

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But kids, as kids, are learning at the fastest rates they ever will.

Common Sense Media, a U.S. non-profit "dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families", has looked extensively at the proliferation of social media use among young children.

Facebook is launching an app for children - and not everyone is happy about it.

"It allows kids to do what they like to do best".

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James Steyer, the CEO of the kids-focused on the non-profit group Common Sense, stated that while he liked the idea of a messaging app which needs the parental sign-ups, many questions remain. Through the app, Facebook is attempting to steer young users toward a service that's actually designed for them.

"Facebook has had an under 13 problem for many, many years", said Stephen Balkam, founder of the Family Online Safety Institute.

The app may be built for kids to use, but parents are the ones in the driver's seat. However, children's charity the NSPCC said it was a "step in the right direction" for providing children with safe places to contact friends and family.

Messenger Kids will of course collect data: the child's name, the content of the messages, and typical usage reports for how the app is used.

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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. "People said that it would be ideal for Facebook to clarify their policies from the beginning so that it would be perfectly clear what parents are signing up for".