Facebook's New Messaging App Hopes to Reach Kids as Young as 6

Facebook's New Messaging App Hopes to Reach Kids as Young as 6

Messenger Kids is a standalone app installed on the child's tablet or smartphone, but controlled from a parent's Facebook account. According to Facebook, 93% of 6- to 12-year-old children in the USA have access to smartphones and tablets, with about 80% of children in that same age range getting their first taste of social media, too.

Neither of the Fountas children - 6-year-old son Jack does not have an account - have smart phones so the Messenger app gives them a fun way to talk with their out-of-state grandmother, Fountas said. The app is created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). "These are simple questions that parents need answers to before they sign their kids up", said James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, a San Francisco nonprofit that promotes online safety for children, in a statement. Sure you could use an app like FaceTime or Hangouts, but a lot of them don't offer the kind of control that parents want, especially for really young kids. There are no advertisements or in-app purchases in the app, and Facebook says it can detect certain types of abusive content and prevent it from appearing in Messenger Kids.

After downloading Messenger Kids from Apple's App Store, all a Facebook-using adult needs to do is log into their own account, create a sub-account for their child, and add people to an approved contact list.

Dr. Lewis Bernstein, former executive vice president of Education, Research and Outreach for the Sesame Workshop, compares the development of Messenger Kids over the last 18 months to those early years of developing "Sesame Street", the long-running, iconic show that now airs on HBO and re-airs on PBS.

Facebook's New Messaging App Hopes to Reach Kids as Young as 6
Facebook's New Messaging App Hopes to Reach Kids as Young as 6

Facebook announced they are launching a Messenger app for children as young as 6 years old.

Once Messenger Kids has been set up, your child can make video calls and send messages to any of the contacts you've approved. Facebook also cites an external study from Dubit, which found 93 percent of 6-12 year olds in the U.S. have access to tablets or smartphones, with many of them owning a device of their own. The control panel for Messenger Kids is located in the main Facebook app. Messages in the app can't disappear or be hidden either, so parents can still keep tabs on what's being said to their children. Facebook's live video streaming feature, for example, has been used for plenty of innocuous and useful things, but also to stream crimes and suicides. Among them: Will it always remain ad-free, and will parents get ads based on the service? The social network also is looking at building controls around how much time a child can spend on the app.

At the same time, Facebook is promising not to sell ads into the Messenger Kids stream nor to automatically move the kids onto Facebook when they are eligible.

Federal law prohibits internet companies from collecting personal information on kids under 13 without their parents' permission and imposes restrictions on advertising to them. And, a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets them decorate their content and express their personalities.

Stanton reps also to meet with Cardinals
Stanton could ask that the opt-out be moved to a different point in the contract, as a condition for waiving his no-trade clause. The Marlins are reportedly only willing to pick up $45 million of Stanton's contract to make the deal work.

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