Messenger Kids sample chat screen
Gadgets , Apps & more

Facebook has unveiled Messenger Kids App for 6-year-olds

Facebook has unveiled Messenger Kids, a messaging app for children between the ages of 6 and 12.

Just when we thought that efforts to limits kids’ use of the internet and online platforms were on course, the social media and networking giant rewards their tiny eyeballs by gifting them with a chat app.

Messenger Kids is set to arrive in the iOS App Store soon and it will offer video and chat for children. The good news is that parents can control and restrict who their kids talk to. As expected the app comes with lots of kid-friendly features such as masks, filters, stickers, drawing tools, among others. The app will also support playful masks since these are very popular among kids in the target age gap.

According to Facebook, the new chat app provides an exciting experience for kids but a platform that is easier to monitor for parents. Numerous suggestions have been made on the need to limits kids’ access to handsets and other devices and it seems that Facebook has been all years all along. One of the most interesting features is the home screen that shows a list of preapproved people that are online and past chats.

Parents will be required to create an account for their children and one of the requirements is to submit their kid’s real name. However, they will be expected to download the app, authenticate, and proceed to add contacts after which the kids can then chat with preapproved friends and relatives. If a request is made, an alert will be sent directly to the parent. This is a straightforward and easy to use app but it is important to read through the app’s privacy policy before signing up since this gives you a clearer picture of what you are signing up for.

Messenger Kids sounds awesome, but what’s the reception?

According to Facebook, the chat app was co-developed with parents, kids, and experts in various areas such as child development and online safety. The company has made all efforts to paint the chat app as a gift for parents but not everyone is having it. In fact, some people have criticized the tech giant claiming that they have not clearly explained the business goals of Messenger Kids. While the company pointed out that the app would not include apps, some people read mischief in this since there has not been communication on whether the app would be monetized seeing that there is data being gathered about the users’ families.

In a statement, Facebook explained that Messenger Kids complies with children’s online protection act. Many online services only admit children over the age of 13 and this explains Facebook’s effort to ensure that the app does not come off as exploitative of children.

In addition, Facebook has defended the app by stating that they have created a platform that is specially designed for children in the target age gap since they have been using products meant for teens and adults.

To others, however, the app is Facebook’s way of appealing to the young users and the next generation of users. Their goal, in this case, would be to possibly to ensure that once these kids are of age, they can easily migrate their Messenger Kids account to a full-fledged Facebook account. Facebook has been known to use strategic methods to acquire users and while the new app seems to have rubbed some the wrong way, the tech giant seems happy to venture into a space none of their main competitors have.

What are your thoughts on Messenger Kids? Can you download it for your 6-12-year-old to use it?

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