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 | Screen time | youtube | smartphones | WhatsApp | suicide | self-harm | momo
MOMO unmasked
Parental Controls | Screen time | musical.ly | online predators | tiktok
It's the world's most popular app. And you've probably never heard of it.
Parental Controls | Pornography | Cyber Safety | Social Media | parenting | digital parenting
Pornstar to parents: shame on you!
Parental Controls | Cyber Safety | Cyber Experts | parenting | vpn
VPN apps: what are they and why are teens now using them?

Recent posts

 
Limit screen-time and limit anxiety: Study

New research shows that teens logging higher-than-average time on social media, TV and computers will show more severe signs of anxiety - ...

 
Is Australia's ratings system really good enough?

If you think the PG rating for movies, games and apps is too broad to be a useful guide, you’re in good company. So do more than 75 percent ...

 
One mum's jaw-dropping journey through TikTok

It’s just kids making music videos, right? Wrong.

 
Are screens teaching our kids that violence is normal?

Violence in Australian schools is erupting at an alarming rate, and educators believe unfiltered online content is driving the trend.