A while back, we shared news that Facebook was rolling out a new Messenger app aimed toward kids under the age of 13 – much younger than the 16-year age requirement for a normal account on the world’s largest social media platform.
However, a new open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg from a Boston-based campaign for commercial-free childhood asked the social media mogul to rethink the release of a program, citing studies dedicated to highlighting the dangers of social media and children, claiming kids that young aren’t ready for their own social media profiles.
The letter states: “Given Facebook’s enormous reach and marketing prowess, Messenger Kids will likely be the first social media platform widely used by elementary school children. But a growing body of research demonstrates that excessive use of digital devices and social media is harmful to children and teens, making it very likely this new app will undermine children’s healthy development.”
Facebook launched the free app in December, marketing it as a tool for children to remain in contact with family members and friends pre-approved by their parents.
On Monday, Facebook released a statement stating that the app “helps parents and children to chat in a safer way,” and also made sure to emphasize that parents are “always in control.”
It’s obvious that we live in a world ruled by technology and while many young adults are willing to give up more information to gain access to popular websites, like Facebook, many parents and childhood experts believe that, regardless of how many security measures Facebook adds to its app, the risks outweigh the rewards of such a program.
Will the launch of Facebook Messenger Kids create a new market aimed at a younger audience than ever before, or will there be enough push-back from concerned parents and childhood experts to stop it in its tracks? Let us know what you think in the comments, below.