On December 4th, 2017, Facebook launched a new app called ‘Messenger Kids‘ which is slightly similar to the normal Messenger App but more targeted towards children ages 6-13 . It is mostly a texting and video chatting app, that allows parents to have complete control over who their child can add and thus communicate with. The app has no advertisements for children, and doesn’t require a Facebook account, it also has fun filters, stickers and augmented reality like Snapchat to attract the children, therefore making their video chats and text messages a lot more interesting. Facebook said its 100-person team that built the app for teens and kids consulted with parent groups, advocates, and childhood-development experts during the 18-month development process and the app solves most of their concerns.
Nevertheless, some people still remain concerned, and believe that Facebook is going against it’s decision of creating an age restriction of 13 in the first place. And others are frightened that this app may enable for their 6 year olds, who are still significantly young to talk to their friends about anything and everything. Yes it stops children from giving fake ages, and also gives parents complete control, but this could sooner or later become a platform for bullying and other sorts of harassment among children, as their parents can’t control what their children are saying to others.
However I personally believe that this app has potential, and seems to ensure complete safety and may properly introduce children to communication through social media. Which I wish I could have had when I joined social media. I had friends who joined with fake ages, and I indeed felt left out. I chose to, or was rather forced to join the world of social media when I was actually supposed to. But to be completely honest, the age restriction didn’t stop many others from joining. Which is worrying, and is why I think this app is a good idea, because it is controlled access until children are matured enough to understand who is safe to talk to, and who is not. Plus it’s fun and entertaining with all the stickers and galore. Overall I think, Facebook has taken a risk, but is stepping towards a great idea. In the comments below, let me know what you think, are you more into the risks or do you have hope in the potential of Messenger Kids?