Facebook Messenger Kids seem very sterile and secure, says Kaspersky Labs

Facebook Messenger is down and people can't cope

It’s been down since around 6.30am

But on the other, the 38-year-old Alabama mother and teacher worries about cyberbullying and other dangers that lurk online. "So just because kids are using it, doesn't mean we need to give them more avenues to use it more". And the latest update about Facebook is that it has announced a new app for kids.

Facebook's official entry into the children's market is a watershed moment both for families and the social network.

In doing so, Facebook immediately reignited a furious debate about how young is too young for children to use mobile apps and how parents should deal with the steady creep of technology into family life. Rolled out in the USA for the moment, Messenger Kids is a stand-alone app that will be available on kids' tablets or smartphones but can be controlled from a parent's Facebook account. But she said that while Facebook made the app "with the best of intentions", it's not yet known how people will actually use it.

Some children's and privacy groups commended Facebook for saying that Messenger Kids would give parents control over children's messaging and not show ads to children. Facebook, however, said it launched Messenger Kids after talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA and parenting experts. If two children want to be friends with each other, each will have to get parental approval for contact. "Combine that immaturity with the problematic interactions that commonly occur over social media, and it could be messy".

But some online safety experts say many kids under the age of 13 are already on social networks. "We appreciate that for now, the product is ad-free and appears created to put parents in control".

Some question Facebook's intentions.

Facebook, however, is also a company focused on marketing and studying user habits.

"Regular" Facebook still has an official use restriction for kids under the age of 13.

Loren Cheng, product director for Messenger Kids, said Facebook would not use for marketing purposes the details it collected from children. As a matter of fact, your kiddo won't even see any ads while using it because the developers at Facebook pledged Messenger Kids is an "ad-free experience", meaning they won't use their info to try to sell them anything (unlike the adult accounts, which are peppered with ads for things you may have considered buying at one point six months ago).

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