Child development experts ask Facebook to pull the plug on new m - FOX34 Lubbock

Child development experts ask Facebook to pull the plug on new messaging app

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Engaging and communicating with family and friends through social media has become the norm these days and now more and more children are getting connected, but what is the right age to get on social media? Facebook recently launched a new messengers kids app designed specifically for pre-teens with parental supervision, but since its inception it has gained some negative traction among child development experts. 

The Boston based group called Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood signed a letter and shared their concerns with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stating that pre-teens just aren't ready to navigate the complexities of social media.

"The group that sent this letter to Facebook have the absolute right idea," said Eric Rasmussen, a Texas Tech assistant professor, whose conducted intensive research on child development and social media. "It's preventing kids from getting this brand loyalty to Facebook, so that they don't graduate to instant exposure to advertisement." 

Facebook's idea behind the messenger kids app is to allow pre-teens to connect with their friends and family all under the watchful eye of their parents. In a statement Facebook admins said the app is designed to help parents and children chat in a safer setting.

Rasmussen said the best way to protect children is to empower them with the proper media practices. 

"It's important to have conversations with our kids about what to do when they are spending time on media," said Rasmussen. "What to do when they encounter content that might be potentially dangerous or negative, and how to help them enjoy the good things of media are on it." 

The messenger kids app features animations and emoji's catered to young people. A recent report conducted by App Annie an application analytics firm indicated that messenger kids had been downloaded about 80,000 times on IOS since it was first launched in December and continues to be a favorite. 


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