Facebook’s new app to introduce kids to social media at an early age.
How young is too young to use Facebook? The social network has a 13 and older age limit but it has introduced a new mobile app aimed specifically for kids younger than that. Facebook Messenger Kids is a parent-controlled app that allows kids to send messages, photos and videos to contacts that are parent approved.
Ideally, the app is to be used to send messages to parents and grandparents and other family members. The child does not need or have to get a Facebook account; it is tied to the parents Facebook profile.
To use it, the parent must set it up to work with their account and the child only has access to the Messenger Kids app content.
The app was released in December with endorsements from the National Parent-Teacher Association and a number of child psychologists but after it was released other organizations criticized Facebook and the app for introducing social media to children of a young age. Parents we spoke to didn’t have anything good to say about it either.
“It ruins everything,” said mom Kathleen Griffin who is on Facebook herself, she said being introduced to Facebook at 7 or 8 is too much too soon. “They don’t go outside and play like they should,” she said.
“I always thought Facebook, having to be 13 was a reasonable age-limit,” said Mailynne Calvin is a social media specialist who advises businesses on their own Facebook accounts. She also has three children, none of whom are on social media.
“I can also see adding to the fun of what a phone can do for a child is different than how an adult can reasonably use social media and technology,” Calvin said.
Facebook Messenger Kids is a free app in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store.
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