Facebook's Messenger Kids lets under-13s chat with parent-approved contacts

Is Facebook Messenger safe for children in Nepal?

Some children's and privacy groups commended Facebook for saying that Messenger Kids would give parents control over children's messaging and not show ads to children. The company took many cues from these conversations, said Antigone Davis, Facebook's head of global safety.

Relatives and friends with Facebook accounts can try to add children's account to their contacts.

While Facebook said in the briefing that the app was designed for kids age 6 to 12, younger kids are allowed on, too.

It's important to understand that kids under 13 still can't sign up for a Facebook account. He also said the company would not automatically convert children's accounts to adult accounts when they turned 13.

It is noted that children will be able to complain about those users who are rude when communicating.

The senators want proof that Facebook is complying with Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, a Federal Trade Commission regulation that imposes rules on collecting data from children under 13 on the internet.

The social media giant noted in its rollout that Messenger Kids would differ from Messenger.

"While we appreciate Facebook taking steps to protect this vulnerable population by including parental controls, establishing an ad-free environment, and restricting some data collection, we remain concerned about where sensitive information collected through this app could end up and for what goal it could be used", they wrote. So, parents can get full access on Facebook, while their children can befriend them on Messenger Kids and even play together.

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It will allow children and adolescents to exchange messages and video calls without account registration. Markey and Blumenthal in the letter wondered if Facebook would collect the location data of children or if the firm would distribute the data within its own family of companies.

Facebook says the app complies with U.S. child online privacy laws and contains no adverts.

Messenger Kids requires parents to set up an account for their child, where only a name is required, with all contacts added and approved by parents from their main Facebook account.

Facebook's focus on younger children raised some alarm bells, however. No message content is collected for ad targeting (same as Messenger), and there's no in-app purchases to worry about. "But why should parents simply trust that Facebook is acting in the best interest of kids?" said Jim Steyer, executive director of Common Sense Media, in a statement. So if a child wants to be able to chat with one of their classmates, their parent must first friend that kid's parent, and then will see the option to approve that adult's child as a contact for their own kid.

The Center for Digital Democracy praised Facebook for creating a "walled garden" approach to the new messenger service. "I think we're at an interesting moment, and there are a lot of moves into that marketplace".

If anything, the flurry of early doubts and questions - from Congress and elsewhere - reflects a broader, lingering unease with the way in which Facebook collects, shares and monetizes all of its users' sensitive personal information. The company has no plans to release a similar kids-only platform for its other main social network, Instagram. Whether it's using video chat to talk to grandparents, staying in touch with cousins who live far away, or sending mom a decorated photo while she's working late to say hi, Messenger Kids opens up a new world of online communication to families.

"The reality is that kids are going to go use apps if they're under 13", he said.

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