Facebook launches new messaging app made for kids

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Facebook also cites an external study from Dubit, which found 93 percent of 6-12 year olds in the United States have access to tablets or smartphones, with many of them owning a device of their own. Parents will have to sign their children up for the service and have to approve any person their children communicate with.

The service is ad-free but Facebook notes it still collects data about users and their communications in its privacy policy.

Messenger Kids comes with a slew of controls for parents.

Messenger Kids functions like Facebook's normal messaging app with a few caveats: children using the app can only send age appropriate GIFs, their version has no ads or in-app purchases available and the account must be set up by a parent. Millions of parents are part of Messenger community and they asked us for controllable solutions that let them message with their children.

Dr. Lewis Bernstein, former executive vice president of Education, Research and Outreach for the Sesame Workshop, compares the development of Messenger Kids over the last 18 months to those early years of developing "Sesame Street", the long-running, iconic show that now airs on HBO and re-airs on PBS. Both parents and kids can report inappropriate content and block other users; parents are notified from their standard Messenger apps when their kids report other users or if their kids are reported by others. The app is created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).

Download: First, download the Messenger Kids app on your child's iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone from the App Store. "We're going to see how kids are using it, and that will allow us to add updates in future versions as necessary".

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Facebook Inc on Monday (local time) rolled out Messenger Kids, an app that lets the world's biggest social media company expand into a so-far untapped market of kids under 13 while also giving parents complete control over what their children see. A recent study from Common Sense Media found that parents are more skeptical of the benefits of social media for their children then they are of smartphones or even wearable devices.

Parents are in full control of who their child interacts with on Messenger Kids. Finally, users of Messenger Kids can't delete any messages they've sent or received inside the app - another safeguard, in case parents want to check what their children have been up to. Parents can also remove people from a child's contact list at any time as well.

"Kids as young as 10 years old easily get 300 text messages a day from social media interactions; this is too stressful".

Bernstein says Facebook's development of Messenger Kids is a way of reaching today's young internet-infatuated children so they can connect with friends and family safely with parental oversight and collaboration.

But kids can't sign up on their own.

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