Jeremy Hunt attacks Facebook over app aimed at children

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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.

The social media giant also say the app is being developed in order for parents to monitor their kids online activity more closely as more and more children have been found to be using the official Facebook website in recent years.

Facebook Inc. unveiled a new version of its Messenger app for children, opening up a new front in its battle for younger users with Snap Inc. Approved adults will also be able to communicate with Facebook Kids users via the standard Facebook Messenger app.

Federal law prohibits Internet companies from collecting personal information on kids who are below 13 without their parents' permission; as well the feature imposes restrictions on advertising to them. And US Facebook users aged 45-54 account for 21% of total time spent on the platform, more than any other age group.

We've worked extensively with parents and families to shape Messenger Kids and we're looking forward to learning and listening as more children and families start to use the iOS preview. Adult users and relatives can receive messages through the regular Messenger app. Masks, emojis, gifs, stickers, and sound effects, are available too - just like on the grownup version of Messenger - only sanitised, and carefully preselected by a panel of experts.

"Also, not all parents will have the confidence and knowledge to manage this app safely".

Kids under 13 can't be on Facebook or Messenger under the company's rules- but many already are. To protect minors, Facebook doesn't allow kids under 13 to sign up for a Facebook account. Children still have to be 13 years old to get their own accounts.

"In a world where far-flung families are better connected than ever before - when Grandma in Tokyo can read a bedtime story to her grandkids in London via Facetime - a messaging app specifically designed for children can only be a good thing". Parents fully control the contact list and kids can't connect with contacts that their parent does not approve. Though, there are a few issues with this initial release, Facebook is taking steps in the right direction with Messenger Kids in that it keeps strangers out. "People said that it would be ideal for Facebook to clarify their policies from the beginning so that it would be perfectly clear what parents are signing up for".