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Barnardo’s responds to Facebook’s new messaging app for young children

Release Date: 05 Dec 2017

Barnardo’s has concerns about Facebook creating a version of its Messenger app for children. Messenger Kids is being trialled in the US. A launch date is yet to be set for the UK.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan said:

We have serious concerns about young children using Messenger Kids and would urge Facebook to work with child safety experts before introducing it in the UK to protect children from grooming or sharing inappropriate images.

Facebook says parents can control which relative children connect with but evidence shows they are more likely to be abused by someone close to them than complete strangers, so we cannot trust that all parents have the best interests of their child at heart.

Also, not all parents will have the confidence and knowledge to manage this app safely. This app could put pressure on parents to introduce social media earlier to children who may not have developed the emotional resilience to cope with engaging with others online. The question needs to be asked whether children as young as six need this?

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