Facebook is set to launch a messaging app for children, which is similar to the standard messaging app, but will not require a main Facebook profile making it accessible to under 13s.
Loren Cheng, a product management director at Facebook, said: “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.”
Messenger Kids will be aimed at 6-13 year olds and is currently only available in the US on Apple’s iOS operating system.
The app will be controlled through parents Facebook account, giving them the ability to closely monitor who their kids are chatting with, granting them the power to manage their contacts list from a parental controls panel through the primary Facebook app.
Facebook says that the app has been designed to enable children to ‘safely’ video chat and message family and friends. The app will also feature child-friendly features, screened content and safety filters to prevent children sharing inappropriate content.
“Messenger Kids” will not display ads, nor will it collect data on kids for advertising purposes. Kids’ accounts will not automatically be rolled into Facebook accounts once they turn 13. However its right to assume that child users of Messenger Kids will be more likely to want a Facebook account, and that Facebook could streamline the transition from child’s account to main app in the future.
The social network now offers one of a kind product and is a viable messaging product for six-year-old children, which Facebook is now happy to provide, regardless of how distasteful it appears to be.