Facebook launches parent-controlled Messenger app for kids

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Parents of children that use the new Facebook Messenger for kids app have the ability to select who that child can keep in contact with. Messenger Kids users can do numerous same things users of the regular Messenger app can do - send text-based messages, video chat, tack on virtual stickers and face masks - but with stricter rules and parental controls in place. Messenger Kids comes with built-in parental controls, which means parents will be able to decide what they're children see, and more importantly, what they don't. It's heavy on visuals and includes video chat and group video chat options.

Sounds entertaining... enough, but also safe and practical for parents constantly anxious with the perils of the open web.

There are no adverts or in-app purchases and the social network said the child's information will not be used for advertising purposes. There will be none of that, at least to start with. "A child does not have the cognitive maturity or impulse control to properly manage their time and use on digital platforms", Hempe said.

The Internet can be a scary, unsafe place for children, even when parents go to great lengths to control what content, videos, apps and games their offsprings are allowed to access on specially designed tablets and wearable devices.

At this time, Messenger Kids will be available in the App Store for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone devices for those in the United States, and will be coming to Amazon App Store and Google Play Store in the coming months.

Facebook's new chat app for kids makes parents approve conversations
Facebook introduces 'Messenger Kids'

If your kids are going to message friends and family, wouldn't you rather have them do it safely and securely?

Setting up a Messenger Kids account for a child requires their parent to sign in at first with their Facebook accounts. Both parents and kids can report inappropriate content and block other users; parents are notified from their standard Messenger apps when their kids report other users or if their kids are reported by others. Android users will also get a version of the Messenger Kids at some point in the future. Parents manager their child's account through their own Facebook page.

Sensing it could face criticism for developing a product that would help convert kids to regular Facebook users after they turn thirteen, Facebook cleverly prepared a defense in advance, notes The Verge.

Major tech firms have recently released more products that allow children to engage within the limits of the privacy law - and that reach more of the country's approximately 50 million children under the age of 13 in the process.

Messenger Kids will also allow kids to send GIFs and stickers like the full-fledged Messenger, but will have them choose from a curated selection of age-appropriate materials.

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