Messenger for Kids: Have all the security concerns been addressed?

By Siddhartha Chudasama

In this digital era, it is vital for one to stay connected, so that they can be “in the know” with their friends and family. Facebook has completely revolutionized the social media world, by allowing people to keep in touch with old friends, while meeting new ones. Additionally, it allows you to keep your social circle informed about the things you do, while letting you toy around with various applications to enhance your Facebook user experience.

After Facebook revamped its chat option, to include voice, SMS, live video and even stickers, it was no longer known as Facebook chat, but as Messenger. The excellent design, the encrypted messaging mode, the third-party apps, and even the chatbot support, boasts a high water mark against which all messaging apps should be measured.

Recently, Facebook rolled out a new preview of messenger, but this time – for kids!

This new app is built on the same basis, that it makes it easier for kids to safely video chat and message with family members and friends when they can’t be together in person. Of course, after carrying out their research, Facebook claim that kids need to connect with the people they love, but with the level of control parents want.

The messenger kids’ app can be on the child’s tablet or smartphone, but it can be controlled from the parent’s (or guardian’s) Facebook account. The main question within the Social media world about this new concept is, what does this mean for children’s online safety. In this digitally connected world, more and more kids are getting their hands on tablets or smartphones, parents are often left with the doubt of how the kids are using the smart devices, and which apps are appropriate for them. In steps Facebook, they go ahead and develop an app alongside parents, experts on child development, online safety and children’s media and technology- voila! Messenger kids was born.

Full of features for kids to connect with the people they love, the homescreen shows them at a glance who they are approved to talk to, and when those contacts are online, in a fun and interactive way. Back to the question of children’s online safety, parents fully control the contact list and kids cannot connect with contacts their parents do not approve of.

In the technological perspective, it is a bold step by Facebook, but a very calculated one. With this apps concept, kids will have their own digital platforms to engage each other with, even though Facebook has possibly covered all avenues of a probable threat towards their online community, the resounding question will always be: what could be the possible effects on children’s safety? Have all the security issues been addressed? We will just have to wait and see.

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