Parents will need to use their Facebook email address and password to activate the child's account. The app, which launches Monday in the USA, gives the company access to a new market whose age prohibits them from using the firm's main social network. To make sure this was something that would be approved by parents, Facebook said it developed Messenger Kids alongside the people who were going to use it, along with experts who could guide Facebook in the right directions.
When launching Messenger Kids, children will see a home screen that shows the contacts they can communicate with and when they're online.
As for why Facebook is launching the app, the company said in email that "many of us at Facebook are parents ourselves, and it seems we weren't alone when we realized that our kids were getting online earlier and earlier", citing an external study from Dubit that found that 93% of six to 12-year-olds in the United States have access to tablets or smartphones.
"Many of us at Facebook are parents ourselves, and it seems we weren't alone when we realized that our kids were getting online earlier and earlier", a Facebook statement said.
Messenger Kids is primarily created to offer video and text chat along with the types of playful masks and filters, originally popularized by Snapchat, that are now prevalent across Facebook's many messaging products. There is no word about expanding the availability of the app to other countries at the moment.
Messenger Kids, which is available for now only on Apple products, allows children to video chat with individuals or with a groups of people. Kids can also use the apps to send photos, videos, or texts to their approved contacts, who will receive the messages via their regular Messenger app. In addition to needing a parent to create an account and add new contacts, kids can not delete any messages, and parents are notified any time a kid reports a message.
Second, safety. An adult with a facebook account needs to create the child's account - which is not a Facebook account, but one specific to Messenger Kids - and they then need to approve all contacts.
"There are no ads in Messenger Kids and your child's information isn't used for ads", Cheng wrote. It is free to download and there are no in-app purchases. The company says the application is compatible with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act. So what, exactly, is Facebook's motive for opening things to younger children? The app allows for drawing on photos and adding stickers and Facebook says there are tons of safety measures built-in.
Both kids and parents can block contacts at any time. 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. It wants kids on board as early as possible, and it knows that parents are eager to keep in touch with their kids through a safe environment that they can control.