In a collaboration with the National Parent Teacher Association on a study with more than 1,200 American parents of children under the age of 13, Facebook found three out of every five parents surveyed said their kids under 13 use messaging apps, social media or both, while 81 percent reported their children started using social media between the ages of 8 and 13.
Analysts say that messaging apps give Facebook a chance to tap into a younger generation that they have been losing; earlier this year, the company bought tbh - a popular teen messaging app. The preview of the app is presently available on the App Store for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone users only.
Basically, this was designed so that parents can protect their children from things that shouldn't be accessed by them in the first place.
In return, Facebook obviously can get more users sooner or later. Once their account is set up by a parent, kids can start a one-on-one or group video chat with parent-approved contacts.
When children open the Messenger Kids app, they'll see a color-customizable home screen with big tiles representing their existing chat threads and approved contacts, with their last message and the last time they were online.
"After talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the United States, we found that there's a need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want", said Facebook Product Management Director, Loren Cheng.
Facebook hired a special team to develop kid-friendly creative tools, from fidget spinner and dinosaur AR masks to crayon-style stickers. Parents fully control the contact list and kids can't connect with contacts that their parent does not approve.
Davis said that, if a parent decides to delete their child's account, Facebook will also delete any data from its own servers.
After downloading the app, parents need to authenticate their children's devices by inputting their username and password. However, experts estimate millions of children under 13 may already be on Facebook after using false information to sign up. This will not create a Facebook account for your child or give them access to your Facebook account.
The new app doesn't create an account for kids; parents are asked to provide only their child's name.
Messenger Kids is being trialled in the U.S. as a standalone app for a smartphone or tablet that is controlled from a parent's Facebook account and does not create a main Facebook profile for young users. Messenger Kids will also omit search database of kids.
There are no ads in Messenger Kids and your child's information isn't used for ads.
Facebook said that Messenger Kids will have no ads.