Why I decided to install Messenger Kids

I’ve been struggling with whether or not to download Facebook’s new app aimed at children, Messenger Kids, onto my daughter’s iPad. This weekend, I took the plunge. I sat with her as she typed her first message and sent a selfie. I watched as she discovered GIFs. I wasn’t sure I had done the right thing.

No one wants to surrender their kids to online social networks, but children can be exposed to even more danger by going around their parents’ backs.

This point was drilled home for me a few days ago, when a friend discovered her daughter downloaded the messaging app IMVU without her parents’ knowledge. The child was almost immediately contacted by an adult man, whose conversations indicated he was a child predator in the early stages of grooming his victim. (The police were called and are now investigating.)

The child told her parents she installed the app to talk to school friends about a game they were playing. Her friends were on the app, and she wanted to be, too.

Another friend of mine recently installed Kik on her daughters’ Android phones because they wanted to message their friends, and their phones didn’t have cell service. She didn’t know that Kik was one of the worst of them all in terms of its adoption by child abusers, according to a 2017 investigation that dubbed it the “de facto app for grooming children online.” (I filled her in.)

You see, the kids are already online. You can’t unplug them. That ship has sailed.

There are plenty of reasons to hate the idea of Messenger Kids, though. The messaging solution with built-in parental controls has arrived at a time when there’s mounting concern over how use of social media has detrimental impacts on people’s well-being, as well as concern over how technology companies have irresponsibly developed products aimed to addict their users without understanding the negative consequences of those actions.

Into this new understanding of technology’s downsides and dark nature comes Messenger Kids. That’s pretty bad timing.

Child health advocates have called for Facebook to shut down Messenger Kids. They make valid points. The app has even been compared to cigarette companies advertising their products to minors.

But as parent myself, it’s been difficult to for me to dismiss Messenger Kids as an entirely evil product.

What’s worse, I think, are the other messaging apps that have for years turned a blind eye to the fact that they have user bases filled with children – not just minors under the age of 18, but actual children, under the age of 13.

A number of social apps are troublesome, too, because they have messaging components built-in. Snapchat and Musical.ly, for example, are heavily used by the under-13 crowd who have learned to lie about their ages in order to participate.

But Snapchat has been seeing slowing user growth, so its first priority will not be making sure all its users are of age. Because Wall Street strictly judges social networks on growth metrics, they’re often scared to purge fake accounts and underage users.

Unlike Facebook, most companies don’t have the luxury of making choices that could slow user growth, or time spent in-app, as Facebook just remarkably did.

I don’t want to demonize parents who have allowed their kids to use social apps at young ages. None of the questions around kids’ use of devices and social media are easy. There isn’t one set of definitive guidelines about what’s right or wrong.

Ask yourself: is it okay to let the kids use Snapchat, when all they really want to do is play with the funny face filters and send those pictures to a few friends? Is letting them goof around on Musical.ly a better alternative to YouTube given the latter’s far more public, and sizable audience of viewers (and ongoing issuesaroundchild exploitation?) Should you turn on iMessage for the kids, so they can text grandma and grandpa?

For some parents, the answer is a hard no. They lock down kids’ devices to include nothing but pre-approved games.

This is problematic, too, because those same kids will be soon old enough to be handed their own smartphones. They’ll have had no time to practice online communication in a more supervised environment. And simply banning apps doesn’t teach children how to critically evaluate them, either.

Arguably, we should have had better solutions for kids years ago.

Apple should have developed parental controls for iMessage as soon as they began marketing iPads as kids’ devices. The OS makers should have created “kids profiles” for iPads and Android devices that are as simple as creating a kids profile on Netflix. But they have not.

Facebook is the first to acknowledge that kids are already all over messaging apps and social media, and it created a solution to address the lack of parental oversight of kids’ existing behavior.

Messenger Kids, for all its faults, offers something in between full access to apps and none at all. It’s like a set of training wheels for the online world. A place where, in theory, parent and child work together to practice messaging. A place where parents have say-so over who the child can talk to, and who they cannot.

That being said, I do believe that Messenger Kids, for all its security benefits, will be used as a gateway drug to entice the next generation of Facebook users. And I do not like that my kid is being pulled into Facebook this young.

But ignoring the chance to teach her about social messaging doesn’t feel right either.

So with conflicted emotions, I installed Messenger Kids to my daughter’s tablet this weekend. I added friends and approved adults, like family members. The app is simple to use in the way that Facebook products are, thanks to the company’s years of understanding of user interface and user experience development.

I sat with my child as she typed out her first message on Messenger Kids and snapped a selfie to share in a chat. When she found the app’s GIF button, she then sent 10 in a row and we talked about how that could be annoying to the recipient. We talked about how to use GIFs appropriately. I also helped her understand when it was time to end a conversation to respect the recipient’s time.

We’ll probably have to repeat these lessons and others a million more times.

The app still requires parents do spot checks of their child’s device to ensure bullying is not taking place. (I’d like to see Facebook implement an alerts system based on keyword scanning and sentiment analysis for this.)

I realize that I could have had a similar messaging “practice session” on iMessage, but not everyone my daughter wants to talk with has an Apple device, and few kids her age (she’s 8) have smartphones with cell service, which limits her ability to practice over SMS text messaging.

Messenger Kids, presumably, could reach more of her friends and family.

Unfortunately, I doubt that many of her friends’ parents will install the app thanks to the current narrative that any amount of social media for children is a bad amount of social media; that kids shouldn’t be using social media – period; that kids don’t know how to behave online, so banning apps is the right solution, not just setting limits on screen time while prioritizing in-person play time. The narrative is that Facebook is gross and wrong for targeting kids, so obviously don’t support the company by installing this app.

I worry this is not the answer. I worry that the pundits are getting this wrong.

I worry also that I’m wrong. I don’t know.

I know Facebook seems untrustworthy. I know social media turned out not to be the force for good that people once thought. It can be beautiful and kind and horrible and ugly, just like the world itself. But I also know it won’t disappear overnight.

If you will give your kids a smartphone one day, shouldn’t you teach them how to use it, too? Shouldn’t that include messaging and social media? Shouldn’t you teach them while they’re still young enough to listen?

Facebook’s new app is one of the only messaging apps that exists to protect kids, and one of few that could scale.

Maybe Messenger Kids is the right product from the wrong company. But until Apple or Google step up, it’s what we’ve got.

More From this publisher : HERE ; This post was curated using : TrendingTraffic

 


RELATED PRODUCTS
  • Learn How To Inspire Your Children To Consciously And Happily Eat Organic Whole Foods
  • Kids christmas activities,printable christmas games and activities,word puzzles, and many more.
  • This software start protecting your home, office and network now.
  • You can earn money from your own readymade affiliate blogs with no experience required.
  • Homeschooling Guidebook that will help you if homschooling is right for your children.
  • Professional Garden Plans With Easy Step-By-Step Customizing And Installation Instructions.
  • Discover our 1 single relaization to quickly getting a flat belly.
  • Learn How To Lose Weight, Even On A Busy Schedule While Eating The Foods You Love
  • Clickbank Ads
     

    If you like our content help us with a share… or two …  

    Also -  I have some free stuff for you .......

    Nr 1. In This FREE Report you can Discover:

    Secrets to acquiring the freshest, hottest leads via YouTube In-Stream ads quickly and easily! Best secret tips for the most effective targeting for your ads! Totally legal, but little-known method for literally stealing traffic from your competitors! Get more traffic to your videos and landing pages without spending a fortune! And much more - all within this special FREE report!

     

    Nr 2. Did you know you can Absolutely EXPLODE YOUR EMAIL LIST FOR FREE with UNTOUCHED offline sources?

     

    Nr 3. The #1 secret to becoming an affiliate superstar - Earn your first $100 online – without a dime to invest.

    If you’re still looking to “make it online – I have just the thing for you. It’s a video series that shows how to make your first $100 online – even if you don’t have a dime to invest. Yes – nothing.  Free.  Nada. Is this possible? You bet. It’s the most powerful system used by those “in the know”. Good things don’t have to be difficult. And they don’t only come to those who wait. Have A Look

     

    Nr 4. Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes. Which of these mistakes do you make?

     

    Nr 5.  You can learn about : The hottest social networking site that will send an unlimited stampede of traffic to your site - for FREE! How to quickly locate a swarm of hungry buyers using "information portals"! The fast and easy way to use simple images to siphon targeted traffic, on command! Learn how to get the most possible traffic from Instagram, and make sure that traffic converts! And much more ...

     

    Nr 6. It’s no secret… Facebook is an incredible place to get tons of free, viral traffic. But… most people are going about it all wrong.  How many of these mistakes are you making? Download the free report to find out.

       

    Nr 7.  Special free report .  It's called "Operation Midas Touch" and you can download it here...

    The report features a surefire method for generating at least $1000 per week online,without a website or product of your own!

    Nr 8.  Instagram is still one of the hottest ways to get a LOT of traffic fast. All by sharing images. Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, yes and no. If you want to really start driving a lot of  traffic and making sales using Instagram then you should download this report.

    Nr 9.  When it comes to creating a product online there are so many ways to approach it. Wouldn’t it be great to just get the meat of it all so you can get started faster? Well, the good news is, today you can download a guide called the Product Creation Formula Quickstart Guide. It’s as the title suggests - a Quickstart guide. You’ll get a list of action steps to take right away. Download your copy today !

    Nr 10. Would you like to finally USE all of that dusty PLR you have sitting around on your harddrive? Or maybe find the resources for the best PLR available - at the best prices? What about how to use that PLR to make you money with just a few minutes of work. Well, you’re not going to want to miss this!

      Nr 11. Buzzfeed’s top post has more than 21 million views. Think about that for a sec… ONE of their articles has had over 21 million people who have read it! And they have thousands of articles... what would you do with that kind of traffic? A friend of mine hacked their method and was able to use it to get 11,592 targeted new subscribers in 2 weeks on their very first attempt!

    Nr 12. Push notifications are one of today's hottest trends in website traffic and conversions, and for good reason. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of people will opt-in for push notifications, which is about TEN TIMES the rate of people who opt-in for emails! That’s huge! Not only that, but they're also highly effective at pulling clicks, as well. Some studies have shown CTR at an average of around 40%, with highs of as much as 80%! Again, that’s huge!

    Nr 13. Would you like to know how to get more money from the exact same number of website visitors you’re currently getting? Even if you’re website is getting as few as 1-2 visitors a day, this report will show you how to increase your profits using these few handy hacks.

    Nr 14. People have now realised that it's not the size of the list which matters, it's the quality. ... and the only way to create a quality list is by launching your own products. Let it be $7 ebooks, $17 info products, $27 video training product or software's... all of these work. My good friend Kevin Fahey has is revealing how he's launched over 20 products in the past 4 years, many of them top sellers. Needless to say he's banked a handsome amount in this time.

    Nr 15. Do you ever feel that the man you like or even love, just doesn't see you or desire you in way you want him to? Or... maybe you're able to get a man's attention though not the right kind of attention? Or... maybe you're still single because you wait and wait for men to approach you first? What you may not know is that the way we flirt will either attract the "wrong" man for us or the "right" man.

    Nr 16. When it comes to getting sales and leads online, there is ONE thing that 95% of marketers use... it's called a LIST. My friend Jimmy just released a free book that explains WHY a list is important and how YOU can build your own list. It's available right here (and it won't cost you a penny)

    Nr 17. If you have tried everything, and still aren't able to get your Ex back, then you need to pay attention.

    Nr 18. What if I told you that you could make ANY woman WANT to do ANYTHING for you? Would you think I'm crazy? Well... what If I told you that you could also make her LOVE every minute of it and come back for more?

       

    Nr 19. I have a special free plugin for you today. It's called "Covert Hover Mini"

    This plugin will triple your blog traffic by compelling your visitors to share your images on social media. This is some really clever stuff and it works like a charm. After you grab your free plugin, don't  forget to read the free bonus report as it will show exactly how and why this strategy works like crazy.

    Nr 20. The days of being able to get away with a basic WP theme and a pic or two are gone, your site needs to look good. Even Google are looking for you to have engaging graphics on your site. But getting good quality graphics made for your site is a pain, AND it will cost you both time and money (if you outsource it). But I have a special free download for you today. A virtual treasure chest of over 21K profit pulling graphics you can start sing today to generate more traffic & sales!

    Nr 21. 20 professional full HD background videos. These background videos are perfect for giving your videos that extra kick they need to stand out from the crowd Oh yeah they are in full 1080p HD too, I hope you'll enjoy them.

    Nr 22. If you've ever failed to create a WordPress site of your own or typically waste hours & even weeks trying to figure it all out on your own....

    Nr 23. No doubt, you've seen all of the video launches lately! There is a reason for it... Video marketing is a GREAT way to make money, and with the recent creation tools making it super accessable for anyone to get started... It's no surprise that more people are making videos. However... there is a missing element to most video marketing products...

    Nr 24. For the first time ever... You can get the straight scoop on how someone is selling over $1,000,000/year of t-shirts on Facebook!

    Use them  .... and have fun !