Google in March introduced Family Link, which allows parents to set up kid-friendly Google accounts for children under 13.
Once confirmed to be safe, friends can do live video chats, send pictures and text each other.
Messenger Kids comes here with a swing and slew of the controls for their parents. "This is just one more way for kids to have access to social media that can lead to more bullying", Gina says.
They can start a one-on-one or group video chat with parent-approved contacts - directly from the home screen. That's because of a federal law, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA, which requires services aimed at children to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting, using or disclosing personal information from a child younger than 13 - like photos, videos, voice recordings, location, contact information and names.
Messenger Kids will only downloadable in the USA and is available on iOS. The narrowed app was designed after consultation with hundreds of parents and several children's advocates, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Facebook said. This means that you won't get unknown people trying to add you on Facebook.
Marketing mattersFacebook said Messenger Kids will not display any advertisements or it will not collect data for marketing, though it will collect some data so that the app can necessary to run the service.
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The child would not be given their own Facebook account, which is prohibited for those under 13. It also adds Snapchat-like masks and filters, including 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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For example, the app allows the Facebook friends of a child's parents to see that they have Messenger Kids, which Jesse Weinberger, cybersafety speaker and author of The Boogeyman Exists; And He's In Your Child's Back Pocket, says is concerning.
Messenger Kids has also sparked concerns among some parents, pediatricians and consumer advocates who worry about the data Facebook will be gathering from kids.
Parents are able to monitor a child's activity on the app, which looks similar to the regular Facebook Messenger app.
Other parental controls include account creation, blocking, reporting, and account deletion.