Facebook unveils Messenger app for kids

Facebook has a team of around 100 employees building products for teens and kids

Messenger Kids is a training wheels version of its full-fledged product - which will allow children to exchange messages and photos with friends and family as well as video chats.

At the same time, parents were willing to let their children aged 6 to 12 use social media as long as there was strict parental control. Adding adult family members like grandpa and grandma is easy, because they likely already have Facebook accounts.

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.

Now the new app is only available in the U.S., but Facebook plans to expand the messenger's availability beyond iOS to the Amazon App Store and Google Play Store in the coming months.

Facebook says the Messenger Kids project was developed while working closely with child development experts with consideration for questions like "is there a "right age" to introduce kids to the digital world?"

Facebook said it consulted with 1200 parents plus online security and child development specialists, including the National Parent-Teacher Association, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Connect Safely, Center on Media and Child Health, and Sesame Workshop.

Children can start one-on-one or group video or text chats with approved contacts, sending videos, photos, gifs and other creative elements from a library of screened drawing tools, frames, gifs, masks and stickers.

Messenger Kids will be available in the App Store for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone devices for those in the United States, and will be coming to Amazon App Store and Google Play Store in the coming months.

Facebook has started rolling out the new app in the USA, allowing kids who are otherwise restricted by age to join the social networking site.

Facebook's child-friendly venture comes as other tech companies like YouTube struggle with kid content on their platform.

But most importantly, Facebook is giving parents total control over how their children use the app and with whom they can communicate.

Facebook says Messenger Kids does not have ads or in-app purchases, and none of the information about the children will be used for ads.

The parents are the only people who can add contacts for their kids. These controls are accessible through the main Facebook app. Peggy's parents will then have to approve your contact request in order to ass your child to Peggy's contact list as well. That means when a child reports a conversation that they find offensive or block an individual user in the app (or vice versa), the parent is notified on Facebook. But it's also a potentially smart move for Facebook, one that could get kids comfortable with the platform by the time they're old enough for a regular account.

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