Facebook To Launch Dedicated Messenger App for Preteens

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"To give kids and parents a fun, safer solution, we built Messenger Kids, a standalone app that lives on kids' tablets or smartphones but can be controlled from a parent's Facebook account".

The social network says the app has been created to enable children to "safely" video chat and message friends and family, and has been developed in consultation with parents and safety experts.

Basically, this was designed so that parents can protect their children from things that shouldn't be accessed by them in the first place.

The app, which specifically targets 6 to 12-year-olds, gives pre-teens access to a beta version of Facebook Messenger, without the need to create a live Facebook account.

Children aged 6-12 are allowed to use Messenger Kids, which is now only available for users in the United States.

It's important to understand that kids under 13 still can't sign up for a Facebook account.

Instead, children can make - and only with parental approval - a Messenger Kids account.

Messenger Kids is full of features for kids to connect with the people they love. Though at present, Facebook has no interest in converting the Messenger Kids account into a Facebook account when they turn 13. He also wonders whether the parents of child users will receive ads based on the new service.

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Because research on the long-term effects of screen time and technology on children is still limited, Facebook also announced a $1 million research fund to work with experts to explore the growing concerns. Then the device can be handed over to the child so they can start chatting with the family and friends you approve.

The signup process needs nothing more than the name of the child. From there, kids can dive instantly into a video chat or text thread with their contacts.

But, he said it remains to be seen whether the app will continue to stay ad-free.

A library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets them decorate content and express their personalities. "It's just like setting up a play date", Davis said. "Sometimes after 5 or 10 minutes it's really hard to have a sustained conversation with a 7-year-old", but kids can joke around with Grampa using the selfie filters when they run out of run-on stories to tell them. "This is by far the most clumsy part of Messenger Kids", TechCrunch reported. A dedicated support team will work 24/7 to address any flagged issues.

One thing that might surprise some people is that there's no way for parents to secretly spy on what their kids are saying in their chats.

The new app's structure feels a lot like Snapchat: When users open it, the camera pane will open, emphasising the app's focus on creating new material (photos and videos) to share.

It is also because of this law that children under 13 years of age can not legally have a fully-featured Facebook account.

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