Facebook launches new messaging app made for kids

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Facebook has launched a new standalone app "Messenger Kids" aimed at kids. Kids can't delete messages either, so theoretically if a child is using inappropriate language, they wouldn't be able to erase what they've said.

Messenger for Kids launched Monday and is now only available through the Apple App Store, with Amazon and Google Play appearing "in the coming months", the Facebook press release said.

With more than 2 billion monthly users, Facebook can't exactly guarantee that it's going to be a safe place for kids. Messenger Kids is designed as a legal way for kids to participate.

Children can start one-on-one or group video or text chats with approved contacts, sending videos, photos, gifs and other creative elements from a library of screened drawing tools, frames, gifs, masks and stickers. Facebook will also not use child's information for ads. This, combined with the fact that parents have to approve each of their children's contacts, should prevent phony accounts from appearing on the platform, a practice that's become a huge problem for Facebook. Parents who set up the service won't be creating a Facebook account for their kids. If two children want to be friends with each other, each will have to get parental approval for contact.

Parental controls are designed to make sure communications are safe and approved
Facebook previews Messenger Kids, new messaging and video chat for children

"Right now for kids, the time they spend on devices is very passive", David Marcus, vice president for messaging products at Facebook, told the New York Times. The company says the application is compatible with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act. We heard that they were looking for better apps for their children to use and from there, we worked directly with parents and kids along with experts in child development, online safety and children's media to help build our first app for kids.

YouTube has recently received criticism over concerns with its Kids app, which features videos tailored toward children. Facebook says it has inserted special proactive detection safety filters to prevent kids from sharing sexual content, nudity or violence. The app is launching for iPhone immediately, but will eventually come to Android and Amazon Fire devices. That means when a child reports a conversation that they find offensive or block an individual user in the app (or vice versa), the parent is notified on Facebook.

Major tech firms have recently released more products that allow children to engage within the limits of the privacy law - and that reach more of the country's approximately 50 million children under the age of 13 in the process. In order to befriend another child in Messenger Kids, a parent must also be friends with that child's parent on Facebook.

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