Do 6-Year-Olds Really Need to Use Facebook Messenger?

What’s going on?

Facebook is unveiling Messenger Kids, a version of the app that works through a parent’s account and gives kids ages 6 to 12 a way to chat without violating Facebook’s age limit (you need to be at least 13 to have a full-fledged account). Kids can chat with other Messenger and Messenger Kids users that have been approved by a parent.

Is it safe?

Yes … according to Facebook. The social network says it’s been working with federal regulators to make sure they’re all on the same page, and special safety filters will prevent young users from sharing nudity, sexual content and violence. Facebook has also promised a kid-friendly version of Giphy so Messenger Kids users can have some clean fun with colorful gifs.

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Kids won’t show up in Facebook search, and Messenger Kids makes you jump through some hoops for your kid to connect through the app. Parents allowing their kid to connect with a friend on the app will have to first add their child’s friend’s parent on the social network.

What about ads?

Messenger Kids is ad-free and not monetized for ads, so Facebook won’t (yet) be selling your kids’ information to advertisers.

Glenn’s take:

Glenn wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea of yet another app competing for our attention and in this case, specifically targeting little kids.

“Are we not distracted enough already?” he asked. “We now need our 6-year-olds walking around the playground with their nose in a screen?”