Sci-tech

How to Sign Your Child Up for Facebook's New 'Messenger Kids'

How to Sign Your Child Up for Facebook's New 'Messenger Kids'

Messenger Kids is launching in preview today for iPhone and iPad users in the us and will be targeting 6 to 13-year-olds with a child-friendly alternative to the main Messenger app. Parents have to use their own Facebook credentials to authenticate a device for use with the new Messenger Kids app, and parents have full and final say over who the kid is able to connect with through Messenger. The account will be in Messenger Kids app and will automatically migrate to original Messenger account when they turn 13. And Facebook indicated that it won't use Messenger Kids to monetize children directly - there won't be any ads or in-app purchases. Facebook has developed a number of kid-friendly masks, stickers, and frames for kids to use during video calls, and they can even browse and send a curated collection of age-appropriate GIFs.

Messenger Kids is the product of over 12 months of development by the Messenger team, which also spoke to hundreds of parents, primarily in the US, as well as the United Kingdom and Australia.

Facebook announced on Monday that it will introduce a new kid-friendly version of its messaging app. Facebook said it was fully compliant with the US Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act, and that it had worked with online safety experts including the National PTA and Blue Star Families.

Facebook has taken a few more steps to ensure that Messenger Kids is not plagued with any loopholes.

At the same time, parents were willing to let their children aged 6 to 12 use social media as long as there was strict parental control.

"But in all of our research, there was one theme that was consistent: parents want to know they're in control". The app is launching for iPhone immediately, but will eventually come to Android and Amazon Fire devices. The company, in its post, said the kids can have access to social media with parental control. Facebook says it has inserted special proactive detection safety filters to prevent kids from sharing sexual content, nudity or violence.

Facebook Messenger Kids "makes parents the gatekeepers" and was designed "with the best of intentions", Lavallee said.

Neither of the Fountas children - 6-year-old son Jack does not have an account - have smart phones so the Messenger app gives them a fun way to talk with their out-of-state grandmother, Fountas said. Facebook has been focusing on capturing younger users as it faces competition from Snapchat. According to one USA Today report, "It's a grown-up problem for Facebook which needs young users to develop the habit of checking Facebook so it can show them ads well into adulthood". The study, which covered 1,200 American parents of kids under the age of 13, found that three out of every five agreed that their kids are already using messaging apps. "We appreciate that for now, the product is ad-free and appears created to put parents in control". "It's actually really great for kids to see how grownups communicate effectively online and you can have the chance to model it for them".