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Facebook Messenger Kids goes heavy on parental controls for safe chatting

05 December 2017

The app, called Messenger Kids, allows children to send messages and photos and video chat with specific contacts that have been approved by their parents.

Parents have to use their Facebook email address and password to activate their child's account, but that does not log a parent into their child's device.

Messenger for Kids launched Monday and is now only available through the Apple App Store, with Amazon and Google Play appearing "in the coming months", the Facebook press release said.

Balkam said that he is happy to see Facebook introducing safeguards to protect its youngest users, but added that the new app does not take away all responsibility from parents. More than 2 billion people use Facebook every month, not counting subsidiary apps such as Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. That's simple really: It's all about getting kids on board earlier so that they are "Facebook-aware" by the time they hit 13. There are no advertisements or in-app purchases in the app, and Facebook says it can detect certain types of abusive content and prevent it from appearing in Messenger Kids.

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"I think it's very important that parents know who their kids are talking to". This will not create a Facebook account for your child or give them access to your Facebook account. But first, kids must get a parental approval.

Messenger Kids is designed for kids and helps them in connecting with family and close friends.

Facebook's move is the latest from a tech behemoth to show how companies are confronting the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

She said, "For a child who is just now starting out in social media to have certain restrictions and parental guidance, that is important". It will be soon available for Android and Amazon Kindle devices. Melanie Hempe, of Families Managing Media, a company dedicated to helping families instill good technology and social media habits, told the Daily News that kids as young as 6 should not be using social media.

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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. "A child does not have the cognitive maturity or impulse control to properly manage their time and use on digital platforms", Hempe said.

"They're finally coming to grips with the fact that a service, which was created for college kids, is now being used by everyone", he said. That means when a child reports a conversation that they find offensive or block an individual user in the app (or vice versa), the parent is notified on Facebook.

It's worth noting here that Facebook itself remains closed to those under 13 years of age.

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Facebook Messenger Kids goes heavy on parental controls for safe chatting