Child experts urge Facebook to discontinue its Messenger Kids app

Child experts urge Facebook to discontinue its Messenger Kids app

Child experts urge Facebook to discontinue its Messenger Kids app

Josh Golin, the executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, who organized the letter, acknowledged that Messenger Kids would become a popular app.

When Facebook unveiled Messenger Kids in December, the company touted the new app as a way for kids to safely video-chat and exchange messages with family and friends when they were apart. After talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the United States, we found that there's a need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want.

"Since we launched in December we've heard from parents around the country that Messenger Kids has helped them stay in touch with their children and has enabled their children to video chat". It doesn't even require kids to use their real name for the service, unlike Facebook proper.

Facebook launched Messenger for Kids last month.

"Younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts", the nonprofit advocacy group the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood said in a letter signed by 19 other organizations and dozens of individual child experts, addressed to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

"They also do not have a fully developed understanding of privacy, including what's appropriate to share with others and who has access to their conversations, pictures and videos", they added.

FACEBOOK has been slammed by child-health experts over its new Messenger app designed for children. "Facebook needs to make sure it's doing the due diligence of educating parents how to use Messenger Kids safely and effectively with their children". "We worked to create Messenger Kids with an advisory committee of parenting and developmental experts, as well as with families themselves and in partnership with National PTA", she told The Washington Post. Is the app's target audience really ready for social media? Better parental controls would also carry benefits for the bottom line: Parents might be more willing to buy smartphones for their children if kids' use could be more easily regulated.


Despite Facebook's reassurances that Messenger Kids simply wants to give kids a safe space to communicate online, child experts warn that using the app will be to the detriment of the children. That's right-there are second graders with their own accounts on social media.

The letter also cited the mounting concern about how social media use affects adolescents and other young people, as evidenced by the recent letter from Apple stakeholders outlining their concerns over smartphone "addiction".

The CCFC has successfully stopped McDonald's (MCD) from advertising on report card envelopes and convinced the NFL to discontinue a controversial online fantasy football game for kids. "And if they are supervised by the parents, there is no problem", one woman said.

The role of digital devices in children's lives is a growing concern in an increasingly plugged-in society. But we don't expect parents to have the sole responsibility for keeping kids from buying cigarettes or alcohol.

"We continue to be focused on making Messenger Kids be the best experience it can be for families".

"The letter cites a range of research linking teenagers' social media use with increased depression and anxiety", it says.

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