Facebook Messenger Kids requires parents to set up an account and approve their children’s contacts.
In an attempt to grab a share of the adolescent chat client space, Facebook is introducing a messenger app for kids under 13. As is clearly evident, their research shows that many children under the age of 13 are already using services designed and targeted at older users, such as Snapchat. One benefit of the Facebook messenger for kids is the requirement for parent involvement in the account creation phase and for approval of contacts within the app. As a parent, I like to see a move to build an app targeted for this age group, however, it doesn’t seem like there are many parents today who would take time to approve accounts and watch their kids’ social media accounts when it is easier to let them use something already on the market and lie about their age.
I would like to think that more parents would want this level of engagement, but I meet many parents who really don’t care what their kids do, or that know so little about the dangers inherent with this type of communication medium for children. In either case, something like this should exist and more of the existing messaging clients should do more to enforce age requirements. The fact of the matter is that many of these companies are more concerned with the user counts than what children may be exposed to. Our culture in America has really come to a point where parents feel like they are imposing or infringing on the rights of their children. When I was a child, our rights were very limited in our household. I am glad, at this point, that they were.