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Experts Say Facebook’s Kid-Specific App Is Horrible Idea

Facebook’s app for kids 13 and younger has officially launched, but child development experts want Facebook to pull the plug.

We talked about it a couple weeks ago here, and now that there’s been some time to explore the app, experts are jumping in to say how horrible of an idea it is.

Child psychologists, parenting groups, basically everyone who deals with children’s development, are saying that Facebook’s new app designed specifically for kids 13 years old and younger is a terrible idea, and even more than just encouraging you to not allow your kids to use it, they want Facebook to kill it completely. In a nut shell, they’re saying that children, even under the best intentions, just “aren’t ready to have social media accounts, navigate the complexities of online relationships or protect their own privacy.”

The idea of the app is essentially, as they say, “an extension of a parent’s account, and parents get controls such as the ability to decide who their kids can chat with.” Sounds pretty safe, but that’s sort of where it ends. Once a friend is approved, chats can then take place, link sharing, pictures, etc. The groups against the messaging app are saying that, despite Facebook’s claims of “responding to a need,” the app is actually just creating that need, not responding to one.

Remember, the app is designed for 13 and younger, so there would be potentially 7, 8 year old kids using this app. Kids are just barely breaking into the real world at that age – do they need a social media app? Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician Jenny Radesky from the University of Michigan says “younger children haven’t yet developed the cognitive skills that enable them to think about and regulate their thoughts and actions and allow them to realize when persuasive technology design might be manipulating them.”

Anyway, there’s an even longer version of this article; we just hit the quick points that the child development groups were giving. Check out all the reasons they oppose the social network here. Would you allow your kids under 13 to have the app? Do you even let your teens use Facebook?

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