Facebook's new chat app for kids makes parents approve conversations

  • Facebook’s newest app is called Messenger Kids. It’s for children younger than 13.
  • Parents must approve all conversations their kids start in the app and can block contacts at any time.

Facebook’s latest app is exclusively for kids. But parents dictate whom their kids can talk to.

The app, called Messenger Kids, is Facebook’s first explicit attempt at reaching users below the age of 13, which is the minimum age for creating a normal Facebook account.

Messenger Kids is a separate app and doesn’t require a Facebook account. Parents with Facebook accounts must approve every new contact their kids add in the app, and they have the ability to block already-approved contacts from being shown to their kids.

Facebook won’t show ads in Messenger Kids or use data from the app to target ads elsewhere, according to a company representative. Messenger Kids accounts also won’t be automatically turned into full Facebook accounts at age 13, the company said.

Facebook created the app after surveying parents across the US. Of those parents, 81% said their kids ages 8 to 13 already used social media.

While Messenger Kids is Facebook’s first app specifically for users under the age of 13, it’s not the social network’s first attempt at reaching young people. The company recently shuttered a failed app for high schoolers called Lifestage.

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