Facebook is launching a messaging app for children so they can communicate with their parents and parent-approved friends. The control panel for Messenger Kids is located in the main Facebook app. As is the case with the regular Facebook app, the camera in Messenger Kids is loaded with stickers and effects - all of which have been made specifically for the child-friendly app and aren't available in Facebook's other services. It's a restrictive system, but one that highlights how tricky it is to give children access to social media, and particularly an app that's operated by one of the world's largest (and most controversial) social media firms.
But instead of forbidding your kids from using ubiquitous social networking services like Facebook or Facebook Messenger, you could try setting up a limited account for them.
Facebook-home to rampant harassment, misinformation, and foreign election interference-is coming for your kids.
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.
The Internet can be a scary, risky place for children, even when parents go to great lengths to control what content, videos, apps and games their offsprings are allowed to access on specially designed tablets and wearable devices.
Facebook has started rolling out the new app in the US, allowing kids who are otherwise restricted by age to join the social networking site.
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. Parents shouldn't, for example, see an ad for a toy on Facebook because their child talked about it on Messenger Kids. That includes registration, activity and content shared on the app.
YouTube has recently received criticism over concerns with its Kids app, which features videos tailored toward children. Davis said that if a parent decides to delete a child's account, Facebook will also delete any data from its own servers. The company has no plans to release a similar kids-only platform for its other main social network, Instagram.
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