Facebook launches parent-controlled Messenger app for kids

share

Source:

Associated Press

Facebook is launching a messaging app for children to chat with their parents and with friends approved by their parents.

The free app is aimed at kids under 13, who can't yet have their own accounts under Facebook's rules.
Source: Associated Press

The free app is aimed at kids under 13, who can't yet have their own accounts under Facebook's rules, though they often do. Messenger Kids comes with a slew of controls for parents. 

The service won't let children add their own friends or delete messages - only parents can do that. Kids don't get a separate Facebook or Messenger account. 

Rather, it's an extension of a parent's account. While children do use messaging and social media apps designed for teenagers and adults, those services aren't built for them, said Kristelle Lavallee, a children's psychology expert who advised Facebook on designing the service.

Messenger Kids, meanwhile, "is a result of seeing what kids like," which is images, emoji and the like. 

Face filters and playful masks can be distracting for adults, Ms Lavallee said, but for kids who are just learning how to form relationships and stay in touch with parents digitally, they are ways to express themselves.

Ms Lavallee, who is content strategist at the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard University, called Messenger Kids a "useful tool" that "makes parents the gatekeepers".

loading error

refresh