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Health experts urge Facebook to turn off Messenger for kids as young as six



Business Standard



Facebook’s new app for young children opens greater concerns




Global internet access: Facebook doesn't like what it sees in the mirror

At the age of six, a child is full of imagination and may not distinguish reality from fantasy. She is beginning to read and can’t grasp nuances in written communication.

She also doesn’t understand privacy.

Citing those reasons and more, dozens of health experts are calling on Facebook to kill a messaging service the company introduced last month for children as young as six. In a letter to the company, they said the service, Messenger Kids, which pushes the company’s user base well below its previous minimum age of 13, preys on a vulnerable group developmentally unprepared to be on the social network. The letter was organised by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an advocacy group that has successfully pushed companies to abandon marketing like a Pokemon Go app that sent children to fast food and other stores, and McDonald’s advertising on the envelopes of report cards in Florida. Facebook’s new app for young children opens greater concerns, the group said. “Younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts,” the experts said in the letter. “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.” The opposition to Facebook’s app adds to growing societal concerns over digital media and devices. Some big Apple investors called on the company this month to work harder to make the iPhone less addictive, and some former Facebook employees have warned about how effectively the service hooks users. ©2018 The New York Times News Service


First Published: Tue, January 30 2018. 21:45 IST


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