Facebook Expands 'Messenger Kids' App to Canada

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 25, 2018

"We designed Messenger Kids from the ground up with elements that teach kids how to better understand and express their emotions in creative ways, encourage and promote healthy social behaviors, and deepen positive connections between kids and their close friends and families", said Loren Cheng, Product Management Director and Tarunya Govindarajan, Product Manager, in a joint blog post.

The app was announced in December as a standalone app, and it faced severe criticism at launch with child advocacy groups calling for a ban on the app. Launched back in 2017 in the U.S, the application will now be available in Spanish and French versions in all the three countries. The Messenger kids update finally will be available on the Google Play Store and App Store in Canada and Peru.

The app was released in compliance with privacy protection laws for children established by COPPA. No matter where users are based, the app is available in English, Spanish, and French - all popular languages in the countries where the app is now available.

Messenger Kids was first made available in the United States at the end of past year, and has been pitched as a means for parents to let their kids chat with close friends and family in a safer and more controlled environment than other messaging apps.

"Research suggests that young people who are heavy users of social media - spending more than two hours per day on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - are more likely to report poor mental health, including psychological distress", the study stated. Messenger Kids will also include activities under the moniker "Appreciation" which allows children to take up activities like sending photos and making video calls to show appreciation to their friends and family.

In January, more than 100 child advocates, civil society groups, medical experts and other individuals signed a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlining their concerns and asking that the app be discontinued.

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