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Facebook Launches Messenger for Kids Which Parents Get to Control

The new standalone messenger app features parental control for better supervision of kids. 

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Facebook on Monday introduced Messenger Kids that will make it easier for children to safely video chat and message with family and friends when they can't be together in person.

The standalone app is only available to users in the US right now on Android and iOS and Facebook claims that parents can control the account from theirs.

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After talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA and parenting experts, Facebook apparently found 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.

Whether it’s using video chat to talk to grandparents, staying in touch with cousins who live far away, or sending mom a decorated photo while she’s working late to say hi, Messenger Kids opens up a new world of online communication to families.
Facebook blog post

Once the account is set up by a parent, kids can start a one-on-one or group video chat with parent-approved contacts. In addition to video chat, kids can send photos, videos or text messages to their parent-approved friends and adult relatives, who will receive the messages via their regular Messenger app.

Also Read: Do Kids Know More Than They Should? Apps to Keep Them Safe Online

Most of what Facebook has accumulated tomake this app has been derived from the kids in US market, so it’ll be interesting to see how Facebook manages to localise it for other markets, if at all that’s to happen in the near future.

The roll out of Messenger for Kids could also be to lessen the impact of cyberbullying games like the Blue Whale, which has managed to create quite a riff across the world, including lives allegedly lost in India over this year.

Also Read: Suicides, Self Harm and the Blue Whale Challenge: Truth vs Hype

Snapshot

Setting up Messenger for Kids

  • Download the Messenger Kids app
  • Parents authenticate child’s device using their account
  • Create account for the kid
  • Let them chat with family and friends
  • Add approved people to contact list
  • Set parental control from your Facebook app

Facebook claims that the app doesn’t show ads, and the user data will not be used for such purposes. Kids won’t also get the chance to download other apps from this one, which complies with Children Online Privacy and Protection ACT (COPPA), the social networking giant confirmed in its note.

At a time when kids are being asked to head outdoors to rid themselves of using gadgets, not sure if having another app (which also works on phone and tablet) is the right way to go.

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