Conflicting Parent’s Running Thoughts About Facebook’s Messenger Kids

On Monday, Facebook launched Messenger Kids , a version of Messenger for toddlers. Here are my current thoughts:

  • Facebook for kids? God no!
  • Okay, this isn’t exactly Facebook for kids. It’s just a messaging app. There are no profiles or anything. There is no searchable database of Messenger Kids users. No ads or in-app purchases. Parents can control their children’s contact list. It actually looks pretty naked, which is promising.
  • It is also designed to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act ( COPPA) . Here’s a checkmark.
  • However, it is operated by Facebook, a company that knows an alarming amount of details about us and strives to keep users addicted . Passing our children over to Tsuka’s car is alarming to say the least.
  • In addition, it is designed for children between the ages of six and 12. SIX! It’s too young for a messaging app … isn’t it? What will even children talk about? How are they so annoyed that their mom made them eat broccoli and green beans tonight?
  • But I suppose that for older kids – say, ages 9 to 12 – it would be nice to have a secure messaging app, as popular apps like Snapchat and Kik Messenger are n’t child-friendly at all. These kids without smartphones or landlines often need a way to chat with their friends when they can’t meet face to face (without using our phones).
  • Wait, but in order for the kids to be able to chat with their friends on Messenger Kids, parents need to add each other on Facebook. So I need to be Facebook friends with the parents of all my child’s friends ?! Eh, I don’t mind.
  • I really love that kids can chat with their grandparents, who are probably always on Facebook.
  • The kids are really going to dig up the kitty masks and stickers.
  • Is Messenger Kids really that scary? People refer to it as a jumble of kids’ YouTube content . However, this product seems to be well researched (Facebook has been conducting parenting focus groups for the past 18 months and consults with leading child development experts ). I think that parents are more afraid of his potential than he is now, and I can understand that.
  • I mean there are potential dangers. In theory, kids could create a fake Facebook account and add contacts not allowed by their parents.
  • What else do we not know about the app? What analytics will be tracked? Where will all this data go? How exactly will it be used? Reading Messenger Kids’ Privacy Policy is not particularly comfortable. Can parents even access their children’s conversations if they suspect something strange? How is Facebook monetizing all of this? Is this just bait to hook the kids?
  • Recode says Facebook has a team of about 100 people working on products for kids and teens . This Messenger Kids thing seems like just the beginning – the company’s bold first bet on new social networking opportunities for kids. What will happen next?
  • I feel a contradiction.
  • And slight dizziness.
  • How to become an Amish?
  • I have no doubt that children will love this service. This is communication with friends – with stickers! I think I’m worried it will be too much fun, too early. And there can be no turning back.


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