Jan 15, 2018
For the first time, Facebook is opening up to children under age 13 with a privacy-focused app designed to neutralize child predator threats that plague youth-focused services such as Snapchat. Available for iOS and soon for Android, “Messenger Kids” lets parents download the app on their child’s phone or tablet, create a profile for their child, and approve friends and family with whom the child can text- and video-chat from the main Messenger app. Special proactive detection safety filters prevent children from sharing sexual content or violence, while a dedicated support team will respond quickly to reported or flagged content. Facebook also built a child-friendly version of the GIF sharing engine with childlike augmented reality masks and stickers. After opening the Messenger Kids app, children will see a color-customizable home screen with big tiles representing their existing chat threads and approved contacts, along with their last message and an indication of the last time they were online. Children then can dive into a video chat or text thread with their contacts. Like Messenger, the app doesn’t collect message content for ad targeting, and no in-app purchases are needed.