Messenger Kids App Concerns Parents and Child Experts: Reviews

Since its launch in December 2017, the Facebook Messenger Kids App has received many reviews. Parents and child experts are concerned about Messenger Kids App and its affects on children. Here is a snapshot of various reviews from leading news websites. We have compiled news related to this App.

Child advocates urge Facebook to end Messenger Kids (The Washington Post)

More than 100 child advocates, civil society groups, medical experts and other individuals are urging Facebook to discontinue its Messenger app for kids, alleging that the software poses health and development risks to children.

Organized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, nineteen groups, including Common Sense Media and Public Citizen, have signed a letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg that will be sent on Tuesday. The initiative is the latest example of critics opposing early adoption of digital technology and is playing out amid a broader backlash against the rising influence of Silicon Valley.

Citing research that suggests a link between social media use and higher rates of depression among teens, the letter states it would be irresponsible for Facebook to expose preschool-aged children to a similar service. In addition, the signatories expressed concerns over boosting the screen time of young children and said this would interfere with crucial developmental skills such as reading human emotion, delaying gratification and engaging with the physical world.


Turn Off Messenger Kids, Health Experts Plead to Facebook (The New York Times)

At the age of 6, a child is full of imagination and may not distinguish reality from fantasy.

She is beginning to read and can’t grasp nuances in written communication. She also doesn’t understand privacy.

Citing those reasons and more, dozens of pediatric and mental health experts are calling on Facebook to kill a messaging service the company introduced last month for children as young as 6.

In a letter to the company, they said the service, Messenger Kids, which pushes the company’s user base well below its previous minimum age of 13, preys on a vulnerable group developmentally unprepared to be on the social network.

The letter was organized by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an advocacy group that has successfully pushed companies to abandon marketing like a Pokemon Go app that sent children to fast food and other stores, and McDonald’s advertising on the envelopes of report cards in Florida.

Facebook’s new app for young children opens greater concerns, the group said. READ THE FULL STORY HERE – THE NEW YORK TIMES

Facebook’s app for kids should freak parents out (MIT Technology Review)

Do you trust Facebook to take care of your kids?

That’s what the world’s largest social network is asking parents with the release of its first app for children, Messenger Kids. With Messenger Kids, Facebook becomes the first of the major social networks to put out an app specifically for children under 13.

The move makes sense in some ways. Chat apps are everywhere, so why keep them out of the hands of children? It could even help parents teach them about online etiquette.

Parent perspective

Kids do need to understand how to use technology, and in large part it’s up to parents to help them figure out how. Hence, kids under 13 already use social apps, whether we like it or not. But Facebook shouldn’t be the default simply because we’re familiar with it. The suitable messaging app for young children probably looks nothing like a mini version of Messenger. READ THE FULL STORY HERE – MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

Facebook ‘no place’ for young children (BBC News)

More than 100 child health experts are urging Facebook to withdraw an app aimed at under-13s.

In an open letter to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, they call Messenger Kids an “irresponsible” attempt to encourage young children to use Facebook.

Therefore, Young children are not ready to have social media accounts, they say.

Facebook says the app was designed with online safety experts in response to parental calls for more control over how their children used social media.

The open letter says: “Messenger Kids will likely be the first social media platform widely used by elementary school children [four- to -11-year-olds]. READ THE FULL STORY HERE AT – BBC NEWS

UBC psychologist alarmed by Facebook’s new Messenger Kids app (CBCNEWS)

Facebook’s new Messenger Kids app is receiving heavy criticism from experts for being potentially harmful to young children.

The messaging platform, aimed at children aged four to 12, launched in December. Facebook and Facebook Messenger require users to be 13 or older to sign up.

Jennifer Shapka, a developmental psychologist at the University of British Columbia, says she is worried about the effect the new app is having on kids’ physical and emotional health.

Online safety

But the bigger issue, Shapka believes, is that younger children are not ready to take on the challenges of social media.

Her current research explores the online risks associated with cyberbullying.

“We struggle to help kids and even adults understand how to be socially responsible online,” she said. “…younger kids who do not have the cognitive capacity.”

“They are really too young to truly understand what privacy and security means in a virtual, abstract world — they just don’t have the cognitive capacity for that,” she said. READ THE FULL STORY HERE – CBCNEWS