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Experts Call For Withdrawal Of Teenage Facebook App

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Child’s health experts have kicked against the plan by the Facebook FB to include an app targeted at teenagers, demanding that it should be withdrawn.  

Over 100 of the experts in an open letter to the FB boss Mark Zuckerberg, described the Messenger Kids as an “irresponsible” attempt to encourage young children to use the social medium platform.

They argued that young children are not ready to have social media accounts.

The open letter read: “Messenger Kids will likely be the first social media platform widely used by elementary school children (four- to -11-year-olds).

“But a growing body of research demonstrates that excessive use of digital devices and social media is harmful to children and teens, making it very likely this new app will undermine children’s healthy development.

“Younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts.

“They are not old enough to navigate the complexities of online relationships, which often lead to misunderstandings and conflicts even among more mature users.”

Reacting, FB says the app was designed with online safety experts in response to parental calls for more control over how their children use social media.

The website pointed out that the app was a simplified, locked-down version of Facebook’s Messenger app, requiring parental approval before use, and data generated from it is not used for advertising.

“Since we launched in December we’ve heard from parents around the country that Messenger Kids has helped them stay in touch with their children and has enabled their children to stay in touch with family members near and far.

“For example, we’ve heard stories of parents working night shifts being able read bedtime stories to their children and mums who travel for work getting daily updates from their kids while they’re away.”

Still, the letter questioned whether there is a need for FB to fulfil such a role, maintaining: “Talking to family and friends over long distances doesn’t require a Messenger Kids account.

”Kids can use parents’ Facebook, Skype, or other accounts to chat with relatives. They can also just pick up a phone” the experts restated.

 

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