Facebook launched a kid-friendly version of its Messenger app last year called Messenger Kids. It lets parents set up an account for their kids which they can then use for one-on-one or group chats with contacts that have been approved by parents. The controversial app was initially available for iOS only and it has now been released for Android.
Messenger Kids is meant for children aged six to 12 so that they can safely communicate with family members and friends. Features include video and GIF tools, drawing tools, stickers, video chat, and more.
Facebook doesn’t require kids to use their real name for an account on the app, there are no in-app purchases and kids won’t see any ads. Nevertheless, child health advocates feel that the app should be shut down. Over 100 child development experts, educators, health advocates, and parents called on Facebook to pull the app because they feel it’s “harmful to children and teens,” and that it may “undermine children’s healthy development.”
The company maintains that it has taken concrete steps to ensure that all of the content in Messenger Kids is age-appropriate and that privacy is kept paramount. Facebook’s global head of safety Antigone Davis also said that the company worked with parental and development experts to Messenger Kids.
Regardless of your stance on the matter, Facebook is now rolling out Messenger Kids for Android. It landed on iOS first and was later released for Amazon Fire tablets. The will should soon be available for download from the Google Play Store.