Sexy chat request
Before Facebook wrote any code or drew any designs for the app, it says it started research 18 months ago to find out what kids and parents wanted out of a potential product.
It also worked with the National Parent Teacher Association for safety insights and Blue Star Families from the military who have to stay in touch during long deployments.
In June, The Information reported Facebook was working on an app for teens called Talk, though that’s a bit different than this pre-teen Messenger Kids app.
While Facebook said in the briefing that the app was designed for kids age 6 to 12, younger kids are allowed on, too.
Instead, parents have to ask to look at their kids’ screen, which Chung says is a more common behavior pattern.
The exception is that if kids report a piece of objectionable content, their parents will be notified but still not shown the content in their own app.
Instead, parents download the Messenger Kids app to a child’s i Phone or i Pad (Android coming soon).
So if a child wants to be able to chat with one of their classmates, their parent must first friend that kid’s parent, and then will see the option to approve that adult’s child as a contact for their own kid.
This is by far the most clumsy part of Messenger Kids, and something Facebook might be able to improve with a way for Messenger Kids to let children perhaps photograph a QR code on their playmate’s app to request that their parents connect.
It found that kids had the right hardware but the wrong software; 93 percent of 6-12-year-olds in the U. have access to tablets or smartphones, while 66 percent have their own device, and three out of every five parents surveyed said their kids under 13 use messaging apps, social media or both.
But these apps weren’t built for children’s privacy, and instead allow adult strangers to contact or follow kids.
Facebook won’t be directly monetizing Messenger Kids, automatically migrating kids to real accounts when they turn 13 or collecting data so that it complies with Children’s Online Privacy Protections Act (COPPA) law.