Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Here's How Facebook Plans To Develop Products For Your Kids

Here's How Facebook Plans To Develop Products For Your Kids

Facebook in turn began rolling out Messenger Kids on Monday, "a standalone app that lives on kids' tablets or smartphones but can be controlled from a parent's Facebook account", according to the company.

Facebook now has a messaging app for kids - its first product aimed at young children, putting the social network at the heart of the ongoing debate about how and when children should start their online lives. While parents can delete their children's Messenger Kids accounts, the policy says, the messages and content that a child sent to and received from others "may remain visible to those users".

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. Parental permission is required to sign up for the app, she said.

The signup process needs nothing more than the name of the child. This will not create a Facebook account for your child or give them access to your Facebook account.

"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 objective it could be used".

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

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There are no ads in Messenger Kids and your child's information isn't used for ads. It urged parents, educators and company officials to closely monitor such services as they grow and to make changes as needed. It also reserves the right to share information with other firms as necessary - such as customer service providers or companies that can help it analyze how the app is being used. 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.

"This app has the potential to provide a safe space for children entering the digital world, but it does raise a number of privacy and security concerns", Senators Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) write Thursday in a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The device can then be handed over to your child so he or she can start chatting with the family and friends you approve.

Facebook has been careful to comply with the law, Montgomery said.

The app launches on Apple's App Store first. But that's slightly changing now, as the company has chose to open the doors of its Messenger services to the kids.

"Finally, Facebook can implement built-in mechanisms into the app itself, e.g., a turn-off timer, that supports a healthy media diet and regulates time spent on devices versus doing something else". Facebook also said it won't automatically move users to the regular Messenger or Facebook when they get old enough, though the company might give them the option to move contacts to Messenger down the line.

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