Monday, Facebook debuted a version of its popular Messenger app for children under the age of 13.
Messenger Kids is a version of the app that permits kids to talk or text with family and friends, and allows parents the ability to control the experience via their Facebook account.
This marks the first time that Facebook has developed an app specifically targeted to children. Facebook’s product management director, Loren Cheng, stated the company consulted with various groups including parents, children’s media and experts in child development in creating the app.
“When we heard about the need for better apps directly from parents during research and conversations with parents, we knew we needed to develop it alongside with the people who were going to use it, as well as experts who could help guide our thinking,” Cheng stated.
Once parents download the app to their kid’s device they will authenticate it with their own Facebook account. Then parents can add the child’s name and approve contacts.
Messenger Kids is currently only available on iOS, but it is set to launch on the Google App Store and Amazon in the coming months.
Kids will have the ability to send photos, videos and other messages to parent-approved contacts — including friends and family — made accessible via the primary Messenger app and vice versa.
Also, kids will have access to stickers, GIFs and other content Facebook stated has been vetted to ensure it is deemed appropriate for kids.
YouTube has received recent criticism over concerns with its Kids app, which features videos geared to children, with several reports surfacing showing inappropriate videos made available to kids. YouTube has respond by disabling comments on over 625,000 videos and completely deleting 150,000 videos.