Recently, Facebook has made it known that they have created a new version of the Messenger chat app that is made for kids between the ages of 6 through 12. The app is called Messenger Kids, which doesn’t require an account with Facebook since law does not allow children under the age of 13 to have a Facebook account. However, parents can manage their children’s use through their own account such as controlling what family members and friends their child can communicate with. Facebook release this app a couple of days ago for preview and having limited availability for iOS users.
Facebook has explained that they are making it very difficult for app to be used in an exploitation way. The app does not have any advertisement and the children information is not used for advertisements. Along with that, there is also no in-app purchases. Facebook has made the app in order to comply with COPPA, or Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act). This is the law that prevent underage children to be exploited online and is the main reason why a lot of services online require kids to be at least 13 years old in order to use their service. The Messenger Kids app is currently available only in the US but has plans to share the app outside of iOS users such as the Google Play Store and Amazon App Store in the near future.
The new app from Facebook is made to mainly offer text and video chat with some other fun filters and mask, that Snapchat has made popular, but know is seen throughout a lot of Facebook messaging products. Facebook has said that there’s a, “library of kid-friendly and specially picked GIFs, stickers, drawing tools, masks, and frames to allow the children to express themselves to customize their content. Messenger Kids also allows parent to have the option to monitor their child’s contact list.
For parent to use the Messenger Kids apps, they must download the app from the App Store and then user their own Facebook account after being authenticated. After that, a parent can create an account for their child including just a name for the account profile. They can add contacts by going to the “Explore” page of the Messenger app to find contacts that the parents approve of. Also, people with preexisting Facebook account such as relatives can make an account to talk with the kids with their parents have the main control over what contacts are approved and what contacts are declined.