Good news for kids! Facebook launched its first social media app for children between ages 6 to 12 named Messenger Kids. Till now, the social media giant has been widely known as a hands-off platform for kids under the age of 13.
The newly launched Messenger service includes videos, pictures and messaging capabilities and is available for free by way of the App Store for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone. Soon, it will make its way to the Amazon App Store and Google Play Store, it is understood.
Messenger Kids is a separate standalone entity that can be controlled from a parent’s Facebook account. It includes photo-editing capabilities including GIFs, frames, stickers, masks, drawing tools and AR filters for kids.
Thank God there are no ads or in-app purchases and it is compliant with the US Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).
Once the app is downloaded and a child’s account is set up by the parent, kids can have one-on-one or group chats with pre-approved contacts. Adults will also receive the child’s messages within the regular Messenger app.
Before launching the app, Facebook consulted with thousands of parents, associations like National PTA and childhood development experts to build an offering that promoted online safety.
The launch of Messenger Kids in the US comes as UK-based research firm Dubit reported that 93% of US six- to 12-year-olds have access to tablets or smartphones while 66% have a device of their own.
In a research, the National PTA found that three out of five US parents said their kids were using messaging apps, social media or both. Another 81% of parents surveyed by the National PTA said children started using social media between the ages of eight and 13.