Parents horrified by new Facebook messaging app for kids

Posted December 07, 2017

Some of these guidelines ensure that the kids' welfare is the topmost priority while keeping them entertained when using the new Facebook app.

On the last Monday, the Messenger Kids came out in the United States as an app for Apple devices - the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

The app will allow you to text and video chat with friends and family, using different types of masks and filters similar to those on Snapchat.

Parents are concerned by Facebook's new app for kids under 13.

Does Facebook Messenger Kids have adverts? The app will allow video call, pictures and even give access to a child-friendly set of stickers and GIFs.

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"After talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the U.S., we found that 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", Loren Cheng, product management director for the new app, explained in an announcement on Facebook's website.

"This is horrifying", she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Parents shouldn't, for example, see an ad for a toy on Facebook because their child talked about it on Messenger Kids.

To know more about children's needs, and the risks they face online, Facebook collaborated with various agencies and institutions such as the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Center on Media and Child Health, Connect Safely, and the Sesame Workshop.

Pediatrician Gina Posner says she's "scared" about the concept. "With the feature-filled camera, kids can create fun videos and decorate photos to share moments with loved ones".

"Instead they are actively targeting younger children", he wrote.

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"There are no ads in Messenger Kids and your child's information isn't used for ads". "My question is why?" Others cautioned that the app raised concerns about children's privacy.

It's not all bad though according to Liz Repking of Cyber Safety Consulting.

However, children's charity the NSPCC said it was a "step in the right direction" for providing children with safe places to contact friends and family. Amazon has also added kid-focused "skills" to its Echo smart speakers, which require a parent's permission to activate.

"I really don't get people in my office who say, 'I'm so very glad I hooked my kid up with social media; it's working out really well for me'".

"The reality is that kids are going to go use apps if they're under 13", he said.

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