Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Cory Rios

Jeremy Hunt hits out at Facebook kids' app

Jeremy Hunt hits out at Facebook kids' app

The new version of the social media's messenger app "Messenger Kids" will make it easier for children to safely video chat and message with family and friends when they can't be together in person.

To get started with Messenger Kids, parents can download the app and authenticate using their own Facebook account.

"In addition to our research with thousands of parents, we've engaged with over a dozen expert advisers in the areas of child development, online safety, and children's media and technology who've helped inform our approach to building our first app for kids".

The Facebook Messenger Kids app is an app especially for the kids that they can use to chat with family and friends.

Messenger Kids, available now on iOS, is actually a separate app from the Facebook Messenger tool adults use to communicate. The home screen shows them at a glance who they are approved to talk to, and when those contacts are online. It will be linked to an adults' Facebook account. They're going to be exposed to these things one way or another, and creating a platform to do that in a way that kids' are more apt to understand is not necessarily a bad thing.

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Loren Cheng, product management director, said Facebook staff had already been testing the app with their families at home. Instead, the app operates as an extension of the parent's account. That's a fairly tall order for any service, particularly Facebook, which has sometimes struggled to keep its main house in order. The parent account won't notified about the attempt though, nor will they get a message stating the child has unblocked someone.

Facebook has kept the app free from advertisements and in accordance with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).

Messenger Kids offers a new channel to introduce young users to FB's brand through a messenger product, rather than its flagship profile and News Feed. "Messenger Kids is also created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA)", Facebook said. On Snapchat, where ephemerality can cover evidence of inappropriate contact, or Musical.ly, where kids dance provocatively in front of huge audiences, dangers mount and parents are often clueless.

He said: 'Not sure this is the right direction at all. "People said that it would be ideal for Facebook to clarify their policies from the beginning so that it would be perfectly clear what parents are signing up for".

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