It's worth noting here that Facebook itself remains closed to those under 13 years of age.
Facebook said the app will not feature in-app purchases or ads nor will the child's information be used for ads. Facebook noted that proper privacy and security measures have been put in place to assure parents have full transparency and control over their kid's online activities. Millions of parents are part of Messenger community and they asked us for controllable solutions that let them message with their children. Facebook Messenger Kids requires parents to set up an account and approve their children's contacts. Parents need to authenticate it to their own account before setting up the kids account. The iPhone only available app is called Messenger Kids.
Messenger Kids is launching in preview today for iPhone and iPad users in the us and will be targeting 6 to 13-year-olds with a child-friendly alternative to the main Messenger app. Parents have to use their own Facebook credentials to authenticate a device for use with the new Messenger Kids app, and parents have full and final say over who the kid is able to connect with through Messenger. It's coming out as a limited preview on Apple devices in the United States.
Dr. Lewis Bernstein, former executive vice president of Education, Research and Outreach for the Sesame Workshop, compares the development of Messenger Kids over the last 18 months to those early years of developing "Sesame Street", the long-running, iconic show that now airs on HBO and re-airs on PBS.
Bernstein says Facebook's development of Messenger Kids is a way of reaching today's young internet-infatuated children so they can connect with friends and family safely with parental oversight and collaboration.
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The parents are the only people who can add contacts for their kids. Among them: Will it always remain ad-free, and will parents get ads based on the service?
Facebook has been careful to comply with the law, said Kathryn Montgomery, a communications professor at American University and one of the main advocates who helped get COPPA passed.
When it comes to ads, Facebook said it will also not use data from Messenger Kids for Facebook ads. But that safety depends on the fact that kids won't know their parents' Facebook passwords.
The application is available for preview in the U.S. and will roll out to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch initially. "It's actually really great for kids to see how grownups communicate effectively online and you can have the chance to model it for them".
Like any business, Facebook's goals shouldn't be viewed as entirely altruistic, even if Messenger Kids is free to download and use. And, a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets them decorate their content and express their personalities.