Facebook Introduces New ‘Messenger Kids’ App

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Facebook’s new Messenger Kids app allows kids under 13 years of age to stay in touch with friends and family as an extension of their parents’ account.

After getting over a billion users, the developers of Facebook are now turning to acquire new users from the untapped market—kids who are below 13 years old. A new Messenger Kids app has been unveiled, which will allow young ones to stay connected with their family and friends in a safe environment.

By being kid-friendly, Facebook assures that young kids will now be able to initiate video calls with family members and send text messages to their parents to stay in touch. All these actions and more will be carried out in a platform where adult content will be completely disabled for the safety of its user base.

Building the Messenger Kids App

In an official blog post all about the concept for the new platform, the developers confirmed that they didn’t come up with the app immediately; but instead, they took on the necessary groundwork to create the safest possible environment.

The team spent several months talking to parents, teachers and associations such as National PTA. At the end of the research phase, the team realized that there is a need for such an app to communicate. But, at the same time, parents should have complete control over it for safety reasons.

In a separate press release introducing the new platform, developers stated that Messenger Kids works seamlessly and is easy to use because kids are still not granted access to the original Facebook website.

The federal law doesn’t allow any user below 13 years of age to create an account on the regular Messenger app. As such, the one they use in the Messenger Kids app will be an extension of their parents’ account but will run independently, allowing them to get the information they need.

An Ad-Free Version for the New Messenger App

The best aspect about using the new Messenger Kids app is that the company has removed all the negative aspects about the desktop version. Kids will not see any kind of ads on their app interface, which is a welcome relief for all parents. After all, publishers or developers often have no control on the type of ads shown, and this move helps safeguard children from obscene content.

There are no in-app purchases as well, and the announcement confirms that the Messenger Kids platform is not going to exploit any mistakes that young users might do. Instead, the whole idea is to provide a clean, safe environment for children to stay in touch with their parents and friends. Keeping things fun and memorable is the addition of lots of filters that they can use while making video calls.

Fun Features to Keep Them Engaged

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Introducing young kids to Facebook so early in their lifetime might make them dependent on the platform and they would want to create an account as soon as they turn 13 years old.

Fun features are strewn all over the Messenger Kids app like a huge collection of gifs to send, stickers and mask filters to color up their faces during a call. The options are very similar to what Snapchat offers but the developers these days often don’t think twice about reusing the best features from a rival app or website.

Parents will also have complete control over the contact list and can continuously monitor them to avoid any random stranger or someone they don’t know from joining the list.

Presently, the Messenger Kids app is only available on the Apple iOS app store, although Facebook developers mentioned in a FAQ section on the app’s dedicated website that they plan to launch on both Android and Amazon Fire devices soon.

Using the app is really simple. All you have to do is download the Messenger Kids app from the iOS app store. Once you have downloaded and installed it on a device of your choice, possibly the one your child uses, you have to authenticate it using your username and password.

From Facebook’s perspective, the idea is to provide a social networking platform for kids who are six to 12 years old. In this era of digitally connected devices, kids have access to lots of things like phone calls, SMS and the internet. However, they still can’t use WhatsApp or Twitter, which have been reserved for adult users.

The team behind the Messenger Kids app aims to change things without compromising the security of young children. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) laws are extremely strict in the United States to avoid online predators from preying on young people and to prevent inappropriate ads from being displayed to children. Instead of trying to bypass the law, the company has created a social network platform for kids but from a different perspective.

Introducing young kids to Facebook so early in their lifetime might make them dependent on the platform and they would want to create an account as soon as they turn 13 years old. This seems to be a clever marketing strategy that will also make communication easier for the younger generation.

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