Facebook Launches Messenger for Kids

Is Facebook Messenger down? Multiple reports indicate mass outage this Tuesday

Is Facebook Messenger down? Multiple reports indicate mass outage this Tuesday

Parents will have to register and create their child's profile in the app, and set a list of contacts whom they can chat, video call, or interact.

The new version of the chat app comes with strict parental controls, child-friendly features, screened content and various safety features to prevent children from sharing inappropriate content. Kids can also access a library of child-appropriate GIFs, frames, stickers, masks, and drawing tools.

Messenger Kids has also sparked concerns among some parents, pediatricians and consumer advocates who worry about the data Facebook will be gathering from kids.

How does Facebook Messenger Kids work?

The company have pitched Messenger Kids as a way for children to communicate with family as well as friends, with parents getting complete control over what their offspring see.

"It's hard for them to grasp concepts like privacy, who is using their data, or insight into how they might be manipulated through persuasive design - and they are really just starting to build awareness about their identity, role in relationships, and morality", she said in an e-mail.

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Some of these guidelines ensure that the kids' welfare is the topmost priority while keeping them entertained when using the new Facebook app.

Jenny Radesky, a paediatrics professor at the University of MI, told the Wall Street Journal: "In my research, clinical work and friendships, I've never heard parents say that they want their child using social media earlier".

Facebook Messenger suffered a similar outage on November 30 when users reported being unable to send messages.

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. "We appreciate that for now, the product is ad-free and appears created to put parents in control". The app requires an adult with a Facebook account to set up the app for his child. Facebook's safeguards have made it more hard for strangers to contact a child, they said. But later, Facebook will make it available on other online platforms like the Google Play Store or the Amazon App Store. The service will not allow for the children to add their own friends or even deleting messages - only parents can do that.

But some online safety experts say many kids under the age of 13 are already on social networks.

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