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Messenger features like location sharing and payments have been stripped out, while the Kids version of Giphy won’t let you search for things like “sex.” Facebook actually manually selected a set of GIFs that kids can use rather than relying on a third-party startup to tag things well enough.Still, a reporting interface written specifically for kids lets them flag anything sketchy to a dedicated support team working 24/7.And with childish augmented reality masks and stickers, video calls with grandma could be a lot more fun and a lot less silent or awkward.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.Instead, parents download the Messenger Kids app to a child’s i Phone or i Pad (Android coming soon).Once the parent has authenticated it with their own account, they set up a mini-profile with their kid’s name and photo.Tweens don’t sign up for a Facebook account and don’t need a phone number, but can communicate with other Messenger and Messenger Kids users parents sign-off on, so younger siblings don’t get left out of the family group chat.
For the first time, Facebook is opening up to children under age 13 with a privacy-focused app designed to neutralize child predator threats that plague youth-focused competitors like Snapchat. S., “Messenger Kids” lets parents download the app on their child’s phone or tablet, create a profile for them and approve friends and family with whom they can text and video chat from the main Messenger app.
Kids can block and unblock their parent-approved contacts.
Facebook hired a special team to develop kid-friendly creative tools, from fidget spinner and dinosaur AR masks to crayon-style stickers.
‘This works’, they said,” Facebook product management director Loren Cheng tells me.
“In other apps, they can contact anyone they want or be contacted by anyone,” Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus notes.