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 | Screen time | Mobile Apps | musical.ly | Social Media | tiktok | child development | self-harm | sexualisation
    One mum's jaw-dropping journey through TikTok
    Parental Controls | Cyber Safety | Cyber Experts | parenting | roblox
    Roblox: What parents must know about this dangerous game for kids
    Parental Controls | Screen time | youtube | smartphones | WhatsApp | suicide | self-harm | momo
    MOMO unmasked
    Parental Controls | Pornography | Cyber Safety | Social Media | parenting | digital parenting
    Pornstar to parents: shame on you!
    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 | Screen time | teens on social media | wellbeing | dating app
    Swipe right for trouble: Six teen dating apps parents need to know about

    Recent posts

     
    Hoop: The newest Tinder-for-teens app blowing up on Snapchat

    Getting kids to share personal info with strangers is the whole point of new dating app Hoop. What could possibly go wrong?

     
    What is "sadfishing" and why are kids doing it?

    Sadfishing. The name may be new - but the phenomenon of fishing for sympathy online (and off) is anything but. 

     
    More parents are worrying about cyber safety - but what are they doing about it?

    A new report suggests many mums and dads are sending their kids mixed messages. 

     
    "If you can mention it, you can manage it"

    “If you can mention it, you can manage it.”