Facebook launches Messenger Kids app for under 13s

Facebook launches Messenger Kids app for under 13s

But on Monday, Facebook introduced an app, called Messenger Kids, that is targeted to that age group and asks parents to give their approval so children can message, add filters and doodle on photos they send to one another. The preview of the app is presently available on the App Store for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone users only.

Facebook said the point of Messenger Kids was to provide a more controlled environment for the types of activities that were occurring across smartphones and tablets among family members.

Nevertheless, this actually prepares the young minds of children by allowing them to get a taste of what Facebook has to offer before they decide to become part of the social network or not.

Otherwise, the social giant has provided only limited, basic details about the privacy protections baked into Messenger Kids.

"We remain concerned about where sensitive information collected through this app could end up and for what objective it could be used", they wrote. Messenger Kids will also not feature any advertisements. Once these parameters are set, kids can only see the approved contacts whether they are online or not.

The social network says the app has been created to enable children to "safely" video chat and message friends and family, and has been developed in consultation with parents and safety experts.

There will also be "a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets them decorate content and express their personalities".

"Why should parents simply trust that Facebook is acting in the best interest of kids?" Parents will not have to download any additional app, as everything for their kids can be accessed within the main Messenger account of theirs.

In June, The Information reported Facebook was working on an app for teens called Talk, though that's a bit different than this pre-teen Messenger Kids app.

Authenticate: Then, authenticate your child's device using your own Facebook username and password. For years, major tech firms such as Facebook complied with COPPA by not allowing those under 13 to have accounts.

"The idea of a children's messaging application with built-in parental controls is a response to today's reality of families living in a digitally connected world where children are surrounded by devices, have access to them, and even own a device like a tablet or smartphone".

Add contacts: To add people to your child's approved contact list, go to the Messenger Kids parental controls panel in your main Facebook app. Messenger Kids, meanwhile, is a result of seeing what kids like, which is images, emoji and the like. It is free to download and there are no in-app purchases.

Created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) which forbids children under the age of 13 from giving out their personal information without a parent's permission, every child account on Messenger Kids must be set up by a parent.

This preview of Messenger Kids is only available in the United States at this time on the Apple App Store, and will be coming to Amazon App Store and Google Play Store in the coming months.