Facebook launches messaging app for under-13s

A screenshot from a Facebook Messenger Kids promotional video
A screenshot from a Facebook Messenger Kids promotional video

Facebook has launched a messaging app for kids, a move which will see the social media giant expand their user base to a whole previously under-age sector.

Currently, Facebook and its attendant Messenger app are only open to registrations from people aged 13 and over. However, the new move will open up use of the network to those under 13.

The company have pitched Messenger Kids as a way for children to communicate with family as well as friends, with parents getting complete control over what their offspring see.

The app must be set up by parents who then get the chance to approve what contacts their children have - allaying fears that youngsters might be chatting online with strangers.

The new program will also give Facebook the chance to enter into a consumer age range currently occupied by a small number of apps such as Snapchat.

The new app - currently a “preview” only available in the USA and on Apple’s iOS - will allow the 6-12s to video chat and send photos, videos or text messages to friends approved by their parents.

“There’s really a gap in the market for a messaging app for kids that also gives parents control,” Facebook spokeswoman Lauren Svensson said.

“We’re going to see how kids are using it, and that will allow us to add updates in future versions as necessary.”