For the first time ever, Facebook is bringing up its messaging service for pre-teens. Dubbed as Messenger Kids, the new app will make it easier for kids to chat with their friends, make video calls using child-friendly filters, and send age-appropriate GIFs. Despite the fact that this may sound like the worst nightmare for parents, Facebook said that it will put safety measures to keep the platform secure as well as confidential.
The company is targeting children as long as 6 to hook them on its services. Facebook Messenger Kids is a standalone app installed on kids’ smartphone or tablet but controlled from parents’ FB account. Parents are able to set up a child’s Messenger Kids account and approve with whom they can communicate.
For privacy concerns, kids will not be searchable within the app. Only parents can add friends and delete messages. FB Messenger’s product design director Loredana Crisan said,
“Safety is absolutely the most important concern [and] being able to [know] who they’re using the device with. The ability to connect with only approved contacts is very important for that age range.”
The app doesn’t include any adverts or in-app purchases. The social media platform said that the Kids app is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). As per the act, a company that’s aiming at users under 13 should adhere to certain requirements such as asking for parental consent before gathering users’ personal data. Facebook said it had worked with online safety experts, including the Blue Star Families and National PTA.
The Silicon Valley-based company also stated that it will not automatically move users to the regular Messenger or Facebook when they get old enough. However, it may provide them the option to move contacts to Messenger in future. With FB Messenger Kids, pre-teens can start one-on-one or group video chat or text chats with approved contacts, send photos, videos, gifs, and other creative elements using a library of screened drawing tools, masks, frames, and stickers.
The app will prevent kids from sharing nudity, violent or sexual content, and have a dedicated moderation team to react to the flagged content. Parents are able to control their kids’ contacts and other options via their Facebook app on their smartphone.
Facebook introduced Messenger Kids with parental control as a preview for iOS in the U.S. for the time being. You can download this stripped-down, new version of regular FB Messenger from the App Store on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch. The company revealed that the app will make its presence on Google Play Store and Amazon App Store in the coming months.
Check out the video below to know more about Messenger Kids:
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