Facebook Welcomes The 6-Year-Old Aboard With The Messenger Kids

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Facebook is finally bringing the social life to the toddlers with the introduction of its new Messenger Kids chat app on Android today after its first appearance in December on IOS.

This app is designed for younger children from age six to 12 since the regular facebook is for teenagers, adult and old, so this Kids Messenger app is basically for the young children to communicate amidst their friends and family.

Though this app is mainly for kids, however, Parents are able to strictly control who their kids are able to connect with over the app. Messages don’t disappear and can’t be hidden in case parents would like to check in. It includes features like video chat with playful selfie “masks, stickers, drawing tools, and more.

Its easy for parent and approved contact to video chat and message with their kids through their existing Messenger app, which means there won’t be needs for additional app download. Messenger Kids allows kids to message and video call using Wi-Fi so they don’t need a phone number.

However, not all parents or industry experts agree that Facebook’s kid-focused messaging app is a good idea. There have been critics about how Facebook is targeting children as young as 6 to hook them on its services.

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Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood says Facebook is been strategic on how to “push down the age” meaning when it’s acceptable for kids to be on social media, it will is unlikely for 11-to-12-year-old kids who already have a Facebook account, probably because they lied about their age, to convert to the new app because they might find the animated emojis and GIFs of Messenger Kids “too babyish,” so the app has not helped solve one problem but create another.

As a reply to this critics, Facebook’s global head of safety, Antigone Davis replied saying the creation of the messenger Kids took extraordinary care and precautions. The company said its 100-person team building apps for teens and kids consulted with parent groups, advocates, and childhood-development experts during the 18-month development process and the app reflects their concerns. Parents download Messenger Kids on their child’s account, after verifying their identity by logging into Facebook.

Furthermore, there are Special proactive detection safety filters which prevent children from sharing nudity, sexual content or violence, while a dedicated support team will respond quickly to reported or flagged content. Likewise, since kids cannot be found in a search, parents must initiate and respond to friend requests and the  Messenger Kids will not display ads, nor collect data on kids for advertising purposes. Kids’ accounts will not automatically be rolled into Facebook accounts once they turn 13. But i wonder is it achievable cos, even Youtube find it hard to make a child-safe space for its Youtube Kids as one way or other some disturbing videos still found their way in.

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With this said I will say Facebook has really done a great job. As this app helps parents to know what their kids are talking about and strengthen the relationship between parents and kids.

But that aside we need to ask ourselves “should children that young be using social media at all?”  in an era where many parents are concerned about even their teenagers and youth spending too much time with their eyes glued to a screen, now we are introducing the younger ones to the “Spree”