Do you trust Facebook to take care of your kids?
That’s what the world’s largest social
network is asking parents with the release
of its first app for children, Messenger
Kids. It’s a pint-size version of Facebook’s
chat app, Messenger (which, like Facebook itself, is intended only for those 13
and older). With Messenger Kids, Facebook becomes the first of the major social
networks to put out an app specifically for
children under 13.
The move makes sense in some ways.
Chat apps are everywhere, so why keep
them out of the hands of children? It
could even help parents teach them about
And it’s a no-brainer for Facebook, whose teenage users are becoming increasingly enamored of competing
apps like Snapchat, Twitter, and Kik. With
Messenger Kids, perhaps, Facebook can
hook younger children on its brand.
The app seems to be part of Facebook’s response to the concerns voiced by
a growing number of people—including
early Facebook investors like Sean Parker,
as well as former executives—about the
social network’s powers of manipulation. In controversial experiments, it has
proved it can alter people’s moods or their
app for kids
Messenger Kids, its first grab at the under- 13
crowd, is not to be trusted. After all, you’ve
seen how the company treats adults.
By Rachel Metz