Messenger Kids, new Facebook app for children

Facebook have launched a Messenger app just for kids

Messenger Kids is the app for all ages, unlike the Facebook and Messenger apps that require users to be at least 13 years old. "Facebook told me they would come back with ideas to PREVENT underage use of their product, but instead they are actively targeting younger children". "After talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the USA, we found that there's a need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want", said Loren Cheng, a product management director at Facebook.

According to the BBC's North America technology reporter, Dave Lee, the prevention methods to stop under-age children using Facebook are "trivial", meaning more than 20 million under-13-year-olds are thought to be using the network.

Some children's and privacy groups commended Facebook for saying that Messenger Kids would give parents control over children's messaging and not show ads to children.

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". Children can send photos, videos or text messages to parent-approved friends and adult relatives.

The app must be set up by parents who then get the chance to approve what contacts their children have - allaying fears that youngsters might be chatting online with strangers.

The tech giant published a press release explaining exactly what the new app can be used for: "We're rolling out a preview of Messenger Kids, a new app that makes it easier for kids to safely video chat and [text] message with family and friends when they can't be together in person".

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Among them: Will it always remain ad-free, as well will the parents get ads based on the service?

"My advice: Until you see Zuckerberg's kids using it, stay away", McLane wrote in a public Facebook post.

The child would not be given their own Facebook account, which is prohibited for those under 13.

Loren Cheng, product director for Messenger Kids, said Facebook would not use for marketing purposes the details it collected from children.

JEREMY HUNT today blasted Facebook for launching a new app aimed directly at under-13s despite promising to protect young children.

It's an early version of the app with limited availability.

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