In the digital age in which we live, is it necessary for a six-year-old to have a Facebook Messenger account? Well, Facebook seems to think so! Recently, the tech giant announced that it has created a new version of Messenger just for kids, targeting six to 12-year-olds for the service.
Messenger Kids, although it will not display ads, nor collect any data from these young Internet users, will allow them to partake in some of the same online activities as their older counterparts, as Facebook does not allow users to have an official account until they turn 13.
Facebook has assured the public that Messenger Kids will have strict parental controls that help safeguard the children that are online; however, critics believe that Facebook is trying to get kids hooked on their services at younger ages than they have historically seen, following in the footsteps of YouTube Kids and others.
Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood says that, Facebook’s goal is to “push down the age” of their younger target group in hopes that they can woo the audience to become brand loyal earlier than not. He also goes on to say that the 11-to-12 year-olds who already have a Facebook account, probably…lied about their age to utilize the service.
In defense of Messenger Kids, Facebook states that they collaborated with parent groups, advocates, and child-development experts prior to the launch of the new service and several of the groups actually endorsed Facebook’s new Messenger service, including ConnectSafely and Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI).
With the recent surge in online bullying, harassment, and even suicide, as a parent, would you let your child logon and use Facebook Messenger? Sound off, we definitely want to hear from you on this one!