'Irresponsible' Facebook urged to scrap Messenger Kids

Kids for children as young as 6 last month

Kids for children as young as 6 last month

In addition to our research with thousands of parents, we've engaged with over a dozen expert advisors in the areas of child development, online safety and children's media and technology who've helped inform our approach to building our first app for kids.

Josh Golin, the executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, who organized the letter, acknowledged that Messenger Kids would become a popular app.

"Social media use by teens is linked to significantly higher rates of depression, and adolescents who spend an hour a day chatting on social networks report less satisfaction with almost every aspect of their lives", the letter states, citing multiple studies.

"Raising children in our new digital age is hard enough", adds the group.

Despite its attempts to quell parents' and health professionals' concerns about kids online, Facebook continues to face heavy backlash to its Messenger Kids network. Plus, research shows that 50 percent of adolescents already report feeling addicted to their phones - a problem Messenger Kids will likely "exacerbate", they predicted.

The coalition is asking Facebook to shutter the app rather than improve it because there's no need for children under age 12 to be on social media.

The letter cites a variety of studies that have demonstrated the effects of social media usage among teens, quoting various side effects including depressions, unhappiness, unhealthy sleep habits, and even eating disorders.

Today, parents are increasingly allowing their children to use tablets and smartphones, but often have questions and concerns about how their kids use them and which apps are appropriate.

A group letter sent Tuesday to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, argues that children aren't ready to have social media accounts, handle online relationships or protect their own privacy.

Special prosecutor, Michigan State Police to investigate MSU
The report included incidents about football players in Mark Dantonio's program and basketball players in Tom Izzo's program. Before this week, Nassar already had been sentenced to 60 years in prison for federal child pornography charges.

Messenger Kids launched past year, but has since become the focus of a campaign for Facebook to scrap the app over concerns about the health of children.

The effort is led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), an advocacy organization working to combat exploitative marketing to children.

Today, in the U.S., we're rolling out a preview of Messenger Kids, a new app that makes it easier for kids to safely video chat and message with family and friends when they can't be together in person. When they open up the app, kids see a list of approved contacts they can call for a one-on-one or group video chat. To get there, click on "More" on the bottom right corner in your main Facebook app, and click "Messenger Kids" in the Explore section.

What do you think of Messenger Kids?

"Parents sometimes believe that if they allow their child to have a cell phone then they can just take a look what the kid is doing on the cell phone", Sephra Rahabi-Vigna, psychologist, said.

Messenger Kids gives parents more control.

FACEBOOK has been slammed by child-health experts over its new Messenger app designed for children. Kids can use parents' Facebook, Skype, or other accounts to chat with relatives. The app also contains no ads, in-app purchases, and does not require the child to use their real name - unlike the original version of Facebook.

The experts writing to Zuckerberg acknowledged these precautions but said the app remains problematic. "Messenger Kids is not responding to a need - it is creating one", the letter says.

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