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Facebook launches parent-controlled Messenger app for kids

Messenger Kids allows children to start one-on-one or group video chats with parent-approved contacts.

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Image: Facebook

Facebook on Monday launched "Messenger Kids" in preview for iOS users, a chat app that could help the company secure the younger generation within the Facebook ecosystem.

With more parents letting children use their phone or tablet, Facebook said it wants to create a safe solution for children through their parent's account. In the US, Messenger Kids is available in a separate app on the App Store.

Once the child's account is set up by a parent, they can start a one-on-one or group video chat with parent-approved contacts. A limited library of GIFs and facial filters is available for a child to use. The home screen shows them at a glance who they are approved to talk to, and when those contacts are online.

Facebook said researchers and parents were used for input during the development process. Facebook won't serve ads on Messenger Kids and won't use your child's information for ads elsewhere.

"Whether it's using video chat to talk to grandparents, staying in touch with cousins who live far away, or sending mom a decorated photo while she's working late to say hi, Messenger Kids opens up a new world of online communication to families," Facebook said in a statement.

Facebook is working to secure the next generation within its platform, early. Facebook's terms say children as young as six can use the Messenger Kids features. Children will be able to migrate to "adult" accounts when they turn 13.

In its June earnings report, Facebook said it has 2 billion monthly active users now on the social network.

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