Facebook Launches Messenger Kids: Targeting Children Under 13


On Monday 4th December, social media giant Facebook Inc. rolled out the latest addition in their portfolio, the Messenger Kids app. This will allow the world’s largest social media company expand into the untapped market of children under the age of 13, while (seemingly so!) letting parents control what their children see.

For a regular Facebook account, children are required to be at least 13 year old. This move from Facebook allows them to expand their network and reach under the 13-year-old bracket as well.

According to Facebook, several discussions were held with thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the United States of America. The discussions have led to the development of this first-of-its-kind standalone-messaging app that lives on kids’ tablets or smartphones but can be controlled from a parent’s Facebook account.

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In the official announcement, Facebook shares:

We’ve worked extensively with parents and families to shape Messenger Kids and we’re looking forward to learning and listening as more children and families start to use the iOS preview.

There are no ads in Messenger Kids and your child’s information isn’t used for ads. It is free to download and there are no in-app purchases. Messenger Kids is also designed to be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). Currently, the preview of Messenger Kids is only available in the US at this time on the App Store, and is soon to launch on the Amazon and Google stores.

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Facebook shared some fun demos and screenshots of the features included! Some of the features include:

  • One on one or group video chats with parent-approved contacts
  • Playful masks and emojis
  • Video or text messaging
  • A library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets them decorate content and express their personalities.

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You can start off by:

Each child account on Messenger Kids has to be set up by a parent. For parents, setting your child up with a Messenger Kids account is done in four steps:

  1. Download:First, download the Messenger Kids app on your child’s iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone from the App Store.
  2. Authenticate: Then, authenticate your child’s device using your own Facebook username and password. This will notcreate a Facebook account for your child or give them access to your Facebook account.
  3. Create an account:Finish the setup process by creating an account for your child, where all you’ll need to do is provide their name. Then the device can be handed over to the child so they can start chatting with the family and friends you approve.
  4. Add contacts:To add people to your child’s approved contact list, go to the Messenger Kids parental controls panel in your main Facebook app. To get there, click on “More” on the bottom right corner in your main Facebook app, and click “Messenger Kids” in the Explore section.

We’re curious to know if parents would consider setting these up locally for their children as well. Children today are way smarter and do end up bypassing a lot of security or parental controls, let’s see how this move works out!


Source: Facebook Newsroom/Reuters