Facebook for kids: welcome to messenger for six-year-olds

Facebook Chat Messenger Goes Down  Offline

Torn between the benefits and drawbacks of social media, Leigh Turberville Harrell hasn't decided yet whether to let her children use Facebook's new messaging app for kids. It is a bet that the app can introduce a new generation of users to the Silicon Valley giant's ever-expanding social media universe. Parents shouldn't, for example, see an ad for a toy on Facebook because their child talked about it on Messenger Kids. Some parents are saying Facebook's snaking its way into children's lives at an early age would most likely do more harm than good.

"The question needs to be asked whether children as young as six need this". The most fool-proof way is to head to a popular social network with lots of users. Preteens are also avid senders of text messages. They may do so using their own standard Messenger app.

And as parents struggle to get their children to stop staring at their tablets and smartphones, they're wondering if messaging apps are worth the convenience.

It's important for parents to monitor whether social media is displacing other activities kids need to do, like homework, along with how children are treating others through the app, she said. The app is compliant with COPPA, it added.

Parents have to use their Facebook email address and password to activate their child's account, but that does not log a parent into their child's device. The narrowed app was designed after consultation with hundreds of parents and several children's advocates, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Facebook said. Facebook's safeguards have made it more hard for strangers to contact a child, they said.

"There are no ads in Messenger Kids and your child's information isn't used for ads".

Facebook in its response wrote: "On Thursday November 30 just after midnight Pacific time we bacame aware that a few people were having issues with their Messenger accounts".

It does not require a Facebook account, which makes sense, considering United States federal law says children under the age of 13 can't have a Facebook account. "Messenger Kids is also created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA)". Others cautioned that the app raised concerns about children's privacy.

However, even as Facebook was rolling out the kiddie chat app, the adult version of Facebook Messenger went down briefly, and as usual users were panicky and took to Twitter to air their grievances.

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