Major Concerns as Facebook Releases Messenger Kids for Users Under 13

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World’s leading social media company, Facebook has launched Messenger Kids, an app that will allow it accommodate new users that are below 13 years old, its previous minimum age boundary. The announcement of the app was made yesterday by David Marcus, Facebook’s head of Messenger, on Twitter.

Messenger Kids is designed for kids between the ages of 6 and 12. It will allow them to connect with their family and friends (just like every other person). it is built with parental controls to ensure that they surf the social media platform safely. It also includes real-time video chat that has AR effects for more fun!

This new app will give Facebook a slight market edge as it offers the opportunity to win brand loyalty among kids (just ahead of everyone) at a time when it faces competition for teenagers from other social media platforms such as Snapchat. The plan is to automatically convert the accounts to full-fledged ones as soon as they become 13.

This is a unique opportunity for parents that want to open accounts for their kids and help them keep a collection of their life experiences from childhood that they can interact with when they grow. Facebook Messenger Kids requires parents to set up an account and approve their children’s contacts.

The app (although on child’s devices) can be controlled with a parent’s Facebook account. It will allow kids to use video chat, send photos, videos or text messages to friends only after they have been approved by their parents.

However, like every other opportunity, this innovation is not without challenges and potential threats. Many people have already begun to point them out aplenty. And, there genuine questions to be asked.

The first is the question of ads. Will the kids be spared?

https://twitter.com/ziadramley/status/937703356491026433

And, some more complex questions:

https://twitter.com/CaseyNewton/status/937855353185693696

Some other just think it is unnecessary:

https://twitter.com/christoplowman/status/937747613750824960

https://twitter.com/NellyDogman/status/937746644795346945

Facebook claims that it had consulted with 1,200 parents and online security and child development specialists, the US National Parent-Teacher Association, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Connect Safely, Center on Media and Child Health, and Sesame Workshop before the app had been released.

For now, it is only available in the United States and only on iOS.


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