Shooting the Messenger

Experts are hitting the Dislike button on the messenger app Facebook launched last month in a bid to capture the 6- to 12-year-old market. And yes, they insist, it is a market.

In a letter to the company, dozens of medical and mental health specialists slammed the social- media giant’s attempt to cash in on kids as young as six as a way to broaden and grow its two-billion-strong user base.

Facebook’s previous minimum age restriction was 13.

The company has countered that Messenger Kids is safer than many other online experiences, and features no advertising. In a statement, Facebook insisted that the app “helps parents and children to chat in a safe way, with parents always in control of their child’s contacts and interactions.”

 

messengerkids.jpegA safe way to chat - or to data-mine future consumers?


The health experts disagreed. “Younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts,” they wrote. “A growing body of research demonstrates that excessive use of digital devices and social media is harmful to children and teens.” The logical conclusion? “This new app will undermine children’s healthy development.”

The protest letter was organised by the advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. It’s the latest in a series of alarm bells about kids’ unfettered use of digital technology - including a recent call by Apple investors to make the iPhone “less addictive” and academic research released earlier this month showing an inverse relationship between smartphone use and happiness among teens.


Facebook may or may not take action to address these issues. Thankfully, parents don’t need to wait - they can start protecting their children today, with Family Zone.

A powerful, cloud-based solution for managing family screen-time, Family Zone lets parents set effective boundaries to keep kids safe and happy online, across every device, everywhere. Use Family Zone to control access to games and apps, set bedtimes, restrict social media, block adult content, and more.


Topics: Parental Controls, Cyber Safety, Social Media, facebook, parenting, digital parenting

    Try Family Zone for FREE

    Sign up now to try Family Zone for 1 month, totally free of charge.

    Free Trial
    Subscribe to our newsletter
    Follow us on social media
    Popular posts
    Parental Controls | Cyber Safety | Cyber Experts | parenting | roblox
    Roblox: What parents must know about this dangerous game for kids
    Parental Controls | Screen time | Mobile Apps | musical.ly | Social Media | tiktok | child development | self-harm | sexualisation
    One mum's jaw-dropping journey through TikTok
    Parental Controls | online gaming | Social Media | primary school | krunker
    Krunker has landed - and it's got our kids in the crosshairs
    Parental Controls | Screen time | online gaming | roblox | sleep
    Family Zone: Now blocking Roblox with a single click
    Parental Controls | Screen time | Mobile Apps | online safety | cyberbullying | privacy | Houseparty | pornbombing | data mining
    "Houseparty" is off the hook right now: What parents need to know
    Parental Controls | Screen time | teens on social media | wellbeing | dating app
    Swipe right for trouble: Six teen dating apps parents need to know about

    Recent posts

     
    TikTok: Dangerous by design

    “TikTok can’t be fixed. Its problems lie in its very conception and the culture behind it. My advice is to avoid it like the plague. Don’t ...

     
    "Go get coronavirus and die": How cyberbullying has mutated, and what you can do about it

    Cyberbullying has bloomed like an out-of-control virus during the COVID-19 pandemic. But in this case, handwashing - or for that matter ...

     
    Many parents are too embarrassed to talk about it ...

    We know these things can happen when kids go online. But not our kids. So let's just say "We heard about a child who ..."

     
    Five easy ways to make screen-time healthier and more satisfying

    It's not just how much screen-time we use. It's the way we use it.