Jeremy Hunt, Britain's health minister, has taken to social media to accuse Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg of reneging on a promise to prevent underage use on his site. Dubbed "Messenger Kids" it's aimed at children under the age of 13 but is linked to their parents account who have full control over who they add as friends and can communicate with.
The new program will also give Facebook the chance to enter into a consumer age range now occupied by a small number of apps such as Snapchat.
Davis named some reasons Facebook made a decision to create Messenger Kids and why they chose to create it right now. They also can not delete messages.
Messenger Kids - A valuable life skill?
Federal law prohibits internet companies from collecting personal information on kids under 13 without their parents' permission and imposes restrictions on advertising to them. And it won't just be for communication that they use messaging tools, they'll be using it for so much more including shopping.
Currently, Facebook and its attendant Messenger app are only open to registrations from people aged 13 and over.
"Adam Alter writes about this in Irresistible, and one of the first points he makes is numerous Silicon Valley giants - like Steve Jobs - allegedly didn't let their kids use the technologies they were inventing". Shopify for example enable retailers to Send order updates and respond to messages in Messenger. "We want to help ensure the experiences our kids have when using technology are positive, safer, and age-appropriate, and we believe teaching kids how to use technology in positive ways will bring better experiences later as they grow". Rival platforms targeting youngsters, such as Snapchat, are also struggling to counter such threats, but typically, the golden rule for most parents is to keep their kids off social media apps and monitor their internet access. Facebook also said it won't automatically move users to the regular Messenger or Facebook when they get old enough, though the company might give them the option to move contacts to Messenger down the line.
First, download the Messenger Kids app on your child's iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone from the App Store.
Finish the setup process by creating an account for your child, where all you'll need to do is provide their name.
To get there, click on "More" on the bottom right corner in your main Facebook app, and click "Messenger Kids" in the Explore section.
The new app - now a "preview" only available in the US and on Apple's iOS - will allow the 6-12s to video chat and send photos, videos or text messages to friends approved by their parents. Simply put, Messenger Kids is a child-friendly, standalone Messenger app with strict parental controls, allowing kids to piggyback on their parent's account but without all the adult's privileges.