Facebook is finally rolling out its Messenger for Kids for Android devices in US. The company was criticised by many for launching the app, including child development experts and advocates group that had urged Facebook to end the app. The app has already been launched on iOS and Amazon Fire tablets.
The Messenger for Kids app is focused for children below the age of 13 years. The app does not require any number or a Facebook account and can be used by connecting to Wi-Fi on any Android tablet or smartphone device. Parents fully control the contact list of the app and have the access to remove contacts from the app. The messages on the app can’t be hidden and they don’t even disappear, in the case a parent wants to keep an eye on the conversations.
Parents and guardians need to use their own Facebook accounts to authorise the child’s Messenger account and only approved grown-ups can contact the child through the Messenger app.
The Facebook Messenger for Kids is available as a free download and is free of ads and in-app purchases. It also comes with a one-on-one or group video calling feature with interactive masks. The feature-filled camera can be used to create videos and decorate photos to share with loved ones.
A child can report or block a contact and even report inappropriate content. If a child submits a report of abuse, the parents or guardians too will also be notified by the social network.
According to a report on TechCrunch the Messenger for Kids app has been launched with a variety of features like themed masks, stickers and frames for Valentine’s Day. The app also comes with stickers, GIFs, frames and emojis so that kids can ‘creatively’ express themselves.
The report denied the criticism that kids are not ready to be on the platform and mentioned that they are ready and people are not able to understand it. The app has also been criticised because it will reduce the kid-like activities such as running around outside, reading books, riding bikes, making art, or playing with friends.
Facebook’s messaging products VP also defended the Messenger for Kids app saying that the app will help parents and children interact more easily. Facebook earlier said that it has launched the Messenger app after talking to thousands of parents and associations like National PTA and parenting experts.
British health secretary Jeremy Hunt also warned Facebook to stay away from children.