To get there, click on “More” on the bottom right corner in your main Facebook app, and click “Messenger Kids” in the Explore section.
“This app could put pressure on parents to introduce social media earlier to children who may not have developed the emotional resilience to cope with engaging with others online”.
“They don’t realize that the stuff they’re putting out there on the internet could haunt them for the rest of their lives”, said Harrell, whose children are 4 years old and 13 years old.
Common Sense Media, a U.S. non-profit “dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families”, has looked extensively at the proliferation of social media use among young children.
Messenger Kids has also sparked concerns among some parents, pediatricians and consumer advocates who worry about the data Facebook will be gathering from kids.
Once verified, the app allows the children to take part in live video chats, send pictures and text to each other.
There are no ads in Messenger Kids and your child’s information isn’t used for ads.
For parents in the USA who are interested in trying out the new child-friendly app, Messenger Kids is now available for iOS devices.
The child would not be given their own Facebook account, which is prohibited for those under 13.
The new version of the chat app comes with strict parental controls, child-friendly features, screened content and various safety features to prevent children from sharing inappropriate content. Kids will not be searchable within the app for privacy reasons.
The new platform, which also requires parents to approve the friendships of children before they connect on Facebook, would allow kids to start a one-on-one or group video chat with parent-approved contacts that can be dressed up with masks, emojis and sound effects.
“As a parent, I would not be interested in a messaging product for my kids”, Radesky said. That’s because of a federal law, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA, which requires services aimed at children to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing personal information from a child younger than 13 – like photos, videos, voice recordings, location, contact information and names.
“The reality is that kids are going to go use apps if they’re under 13”, he said.
How young is too young to be on social media?
Then, authenticate your child’s iOS device using your own Facebook username and password.
The app launches on Apple’s App Store first. Facebook’s move has already been criticized in some countries. “We appreciate that for now, the product is ad-free and appears created to put parents in control”.
Some question Facebook’s intentions.
According to research conducted by Facebook and consultant firm Dubit, about 90% of kids between ages six to 12 have access to tablets or smartphones.