Facebook is coming for your kids. The social media giant is launching a messaging app for children to chat with their parents and with friends approved by their parents.
The free app is aimed at kids under 13, who can’t yet have their own accounts under Facebook’s rules, though they often do.
While children do use messaging and social media apps designed for teenagers and adults, those services aren’t built for them, said Kristelle Lavallee, a children’s psychology expert who advised Facebook on designing the service.
Messenger Kids comes with a slew of controls for parents. The service won’t let children add their own friends or delete messages — only parents can do that. Kids don’t get a separate Facebook or Messenger account; rather, it’s an extension of a parent’s account.
There are no adverts or in-app purchases and the social network said the child’s information will not be used for advertising purposes. Facebook also said it will not automatically move users to the regular Messenger or Facebook when they get old enough, though the company may provide them the option to move contacts to Messenger down the line.