Facebook today rolled out a new messaging service for children under the age of 13. Messenger Kids is a mobile application that gives kids the power to communicate via text and video with approved family members and friends. The app works on smartphones and tablets, but is controlled through the parent’s Facebook account. Messenger Kids first available to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Children can use Messenger Kids for one-on-one or group video chats. The UI gives kids a clear indicator of who they are allowed to communicate with and when those friends or family are online. Kids will not be able to connect with anyone not green-lighted by parents. A parental account is required for children to use Messenger Kids. Setting up the service does not create a Facebook account for the kids, and kids will not have access to their parents’ Facebook accounts. There are no ads served to kids in the app, nor are their in-app purchases. It includes masks, emoji, and sound effects, and supports photos, videos, or text. Facebook says it created a library of kid-safe GIFs and other content for sharing. Adults who receive these messages will see them in the regular, full version of Facebook Messenger. Messenger Kids is only available to iOS devices in the U.S. to start, but Facebook says it will expand to Android devices soon.
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