On Monday morning, Facebook announced a new product for younger children, Messenger Kids. It’s a new standalone messaging app on iOS for United States users that’s meant for kids as young as 6-years-old.
Messenger Kids will be available for iOS devices this week, and will come to Android and Kindle versions in a few months, according to Yahoo. Users will be able to do many of the same things users of the regular Messenger app can do, such as send text-based messages, video chat, and use virtual stickers.
The app’s design highlights its privacy features that only allow kids to chat with contacts approved by parents. Setting up a Messenger Kids account for a child requires their parent to sign in at first with their Facebook accounts. Once the child’s account is live, they are only able to chat with people on the app that their parents have approved.
Both parents and children can report inappropriate content and block other users. Parents will be notified from their standard Messenger apps when their kids report other users or if their kids are reported by others.
Users of Messenger Kids are not able to delete any messages they’ve sent or received inside the app as another safeguard. This will allow parents to check in on what their children have been up to.
As the product debuts, many parents are left asking themselves if they really want their young children to use the social media giant so early. Controversy over the platform comes from trolls, liars, and even a Russian state-sponsored operation to create chaos in politics and American society.
“We understand that this is extraordinarily frightening,” explained Facebook Head of Global Safety Antigone Davis. “Parents care tremendously, obviously, about their children, and we have an opportunity and an obligation really, as one of their largest social media companies to get this right and to help parents answer their needs.”
Previously, Facebook received backlash from anticipating the worst of human nature. The company’s move to attract children is likely to generate a good deal of scrutiny.
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