China Chiristian Daily

- December 15, 2017 -


Facebook Creates Messenger for Kids

By Faith Magbanua
on December 08, 2017 05:12 AM

Messenger Kids: (credit: Screenshot)

A more safer internet environment is provided by Facebook for younger users with the introduction of Messenger for Kids.

How young is too young to be on social media let alone Facebook?

Based on Facebook's registration, only those aged 13 and over are allowed to use the website. However, such prevention methods are un-effective, because more than 20 million under-13-year-olds are thought to be using the network.

However, a new way of filtering for Facebook has been introduced recently to protect children currently using Facebook and alleviate their family's worries.

On Monday, Facebook has launched its first app tailored especially for its younger users. However, the software still remains to be a ring-fenced network that needs parental approval before use, and will not - the company has promised - be used to feed data for advertising.

Messenger Kids is a simplified, locked-down version of the messaging app Facebook currently offers its older users.

"Parents are increasingly allowing their children to use tablets and smartphones, but often have questions and concerns about how their kids use them and which apps are appropriate," said Loren Cheng, product manager for Messenger Kids.

"So when we heard about the need for better apps directly from parents during research and conversations with parents, we knew we needed to develop it alongside the people who were going to use it, as well as experts who could help guide our thinking." she added.

Filtering of "Approved Friends"

If two children want to be friends on Messenger Kids, that friendship has to be approved by a parent for each child. Once it is confirmed to be safe, friends can do live video chat and send pictures and text to each other.

It should be noted that the so-called parental controls are designed to ensure that the communications are safe and approved by the parents.

There will also be "a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets them decorate content and express their personalities".

To add to that, approved adult friends can also contact the children through the app - although they will get their messages through the normal Facebook Messenger app.

Messenger Kids will still collect data: the child's name, the content of the messages, and typical usage reports for how the app is used.

Facebook has promised the data will not be used in any way to power the "grown up" Facebook app.

Meanwhile, the company also ensured the enjoyment of each children on means of putting an array of effects to make the video chat more fun for the youngster.

On the other hand, if a child does decide to join full Facebook, it will be a brand new account with no data carried over from what was said on Messenger Kids.

Having youngsters graduate onto Facebook proper is of key strategic importance for the company as it seeks to make sure it is the social network of choice for the next generation of users.



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