Facebook's Messenger Kids lets under-13s chat with parent-approved contacts

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So, parents can get full access on Facebook, while their children can befriend them on Messenger Kids and even play together. The app aims to create an experience like Facebook Messenger for kids, ideally in an environment that is strictly used for communication.

Instead, children can make - and only with parental approval - a Messenger Kids account.

Reuters/Regis DuvignauFacebook's Messenger Kids allows for parent-controlled Messenger accounts for children. Messenger Kids, meanwhile, is a result of seeing what kids like, which is images, emoji and the like.

Messenger Kids is being trialled in the USA as a standalone app for a smartphone or tablet that is controlled from a parent's Facebook account and does not create a main Facebook profile for young users. Facebook is indeed coming for your kids.

Some of these guidelines ensure that the kids' welfare is the topmost priority while keeping them entertained when using the new Facebook app.

For the first time, Facebook is opening up to children under age 13 with a privacy-focused app designed to neutralize child predator threats that plague youth-focused competitors like Snapchat. Rolling out today on iOS in the U.S., "Messenger Kids" lets parents download the app on their child's phone or tablet, create a profile for them and approve friends and family with whom they can text and video chat from the main Messenger app.

Facebook does not allow children under age 13 to create their own Facebook accounts.

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"The reality is that kids are going to go use apps if they're under 13", he said. But that's slightly changing now, as the company has made a decision to open the doors of its Messenger services to the kids. From there, kids can dive instantly into a video chat or text thread with their contacts.

But, he said it remains to be seen whether the app will continue to stay ad-free. Facebook has included a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks, emojis, sound effects and drawing tools that kids can make use of while chatting with a parent-approved contact. "Video calls become so much more playful with AR", says Marcus.

In a company blog post, Antigone Davis - public policy director and global head of safety at Facebook - wrote that the media site has been working on the product for the past 18 months, working closely with leading child development experts, parents and educators.

One thing that might surprise some people is that there's no way for parents to secretly spy on what their kids are saying in their chats.

"Why should parents simply trust that Facebook is acting in the best interest of kids?" The exception is that if kids report a piece of objectionable content, their parents will be notified but still not shown the content in their own app. The app, which launches Monday in the United States, gives the company access to a new market whose age prohibits them from using the firm's main social network. Facebook also said it won't automatically move users to the regular Messenger or Facebook when they get old enough, though the company might give them the option to move contacts to Messenger down the line.

To know more about children's needs, and the risks they face online, Facebook collaborated with various agencies and institutions such as the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Center on Media and Child Health, Connect Safely, and the Sesame Workshop.