Jeremy Hunt Tells Facebook To 'Stay Away From My Kids'

Facebook Messenger Goes Down/Offline Worldwide

Today, in the USA, we're rolling out a preview of Messenger Kids, a new app that makes it easier for kids to safely video chat and message with family and friends when they can't be together in person.

Facebook mentioned in its blog post that the app is created to enable kids to communicate with their friends and family through video chats and text messages as well as share photos and videos.

Facebook also had thought-provoking conversations around topics of responsible online communication, parental controls and much more where the social media giant heard first-hand how parents and caregivers approach raising children in today's digitally connected world. Once their account is set up by a parent, kids can start a one-on-one or group video chat with parent-approved contacts.

Children aren't searchable on Facebook which means children will have to first find their friend's parents on Facebook to get permission.

Chief executive Javed Khan said: "We have serious concerns about young children using Messenger Kids and would urge Facebook to work with child safety experts before introducing it in the United Kingdom to protect children from grooming or sharing inappropriate images".

Unlike Facebook's regular apps or its Instagram photo-sharing service, Messenger Kids doesn't require users to be 13 years old.

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You won't be able to see what your kid is saying or what they're seeing from the management panel, which could be a deal breaker for parents of kids at the lower end of Messenger Kids' age range. It will be linked to an adults' Facebook account.

We put the Messenger Kids' proactive safety filters to the test and found that they weren't efficient enough.

Most apps say that kids have to be at least 13, but there's nothing to stop younger children from signing up.

"Probably like most parents, I recoiled I horror at this announcement but on reading more, I'm sold", said Anne-Marie O'Leary, editor in chief at Netmums.

It's important to note that kids under 13 are still not allowed to sign up for a Facebook account. "But why should parents simply trust that Facebook is acting in the best interest of kids?" Instead, the app operates as an extension of the parent's account. "Messenger Kids is also created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA)", Facebook said.

Others want broader transparency on the various privacy issues that arise from the launch of this app. Facebook's blogpost on Monday was carefully crafted to alleviate various anticipated worries, and name-dropping experts and agencies that deal with protection of children is a key part of its marketing strategy here. Like the main Facebook network, users can report content inside Messenger Kids.

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