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“In other apps, they can contact anyone they want or be contacted by anyone,” Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus notes.

Special proactive detection safety filters prevent children from sharing nudity, sexual content or violence, while a dedicated support team will respond quickly to reported or flagged content.

Facebook even manually sifted Giphy to build a kid-friendly version of the GIF-sharing engine.

And with childish augmented reality masks and stickers, video calls with grandma could be a lot more fun and a lot less silent or awkward.

In June, The Information reported Facebook was working on an app for teens called Talk, though that’s a bit different than this pre-teen Messenger Kids app.

While Facebook said in the briefing that the app was designed for kids age 6 to 12, younger kids are allowed on, too.

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.

From there, kids can dive instantly into a video chat or text thread with their contacts.Facebook hired a special team to develop kid-friendly creative tools, from fidget spinner and dinosaur AR masks to crayon-style stickers.“Video calls become so much more playful with AR,” says Marcus.“When you think about things at scale that we do to get people to care more about Messenger, this is one that addresses a real need for parents,” say Facebook’s head of Messenger David Marcus.“But the side effect will be that they use Messenger more and create family groups.” Marcus tells me he’s excited about getting his 8-year-old into the family chat alongside his 14- and 17-year-old children.For the first time, Facebook is opening up to children under age 13 with a privacy-focused app designed to neutralize child predator threats that plague youth-focused competitors like Snapchat. S., “Messenger Kids” lets parents download the app on their child’s phone or tablet, create a profile for them and approve friends and family with whom they can text and video chat from the main Messenger app.Tweens don’t sign up for a Facebook account and don’t need a phone number, but can communicate with other Messenger and Messenger Kids users parents sign-off on, so younger siblings don’t get left out of the family group chat.It found that kids had the right hardware but the wrong software; 93 percent of 6-12-year-olds in the U. have access to tablets or smartphones, while 66 percent have their own device, and three out of every five parents surveyed said their kids under 13 use messaging apps, social media or both.But these apps weren’t built for children’s privacy, and instead allow adult strangers to contact or follow kids.Instead, parents have to ask to look at their kids’ screen, which Chung says is a more common behavior pattern.The exception is that if kids report a piece of objectionable content, their parents will be notified but still not shown the content in their own app.

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