Facebook has introduced its first app tailored for young children. As per the statement given by the social media giant, this will be a ringfenced network that needs parental approval before use, and will not be used to feed data for advertising.
The app is named Messenger Kids, a simplified, locked-down version of the messaging app Facebook today offers those over 13.
Loren Cheng, product manager for Messenger Kids said, “Parents are increasingly allowing their children to use tablets and smartphones, but often have questions and concerns about how their kids use them and which apps are appropriate.”
He further added, “So when we heard about the need for better apps directly from parents during research and conversations with parents, we knew we needed to develop it alongside the people who were going to use it, as well as experts who could help guide our thinking.”
The app works as – if two children want to be friends on Messenger Kids, that friendship has to be approved by a parent for each child. Once confirmed to be safe, friends can do live video chat and send pictures and text to each other.
The app includes, “a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets them decorate content and express their personalities”.
Approved adults can also contact children through Messenger Kids, although they will get their messages through the normal Facebook Messenger app.
The app will collect data like the child’s name, the content of the messages, and typical usage reports for how the app is used.
This information will be shared with third parties, which must have data protection policies that comply with Coppa, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in the US.
Initially, the app is only available in the US on Apple’s iOS operating system.