New Facebook App for Children Ignites Debate Among Families

 In U.S.

Just as vocal are parents like Parker Thompson of Alameda, Calif., who said children’s adoption of technology is an inevitability and who appreciated Facebook’s approach with the new app.

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Messenger Kids provides parents with control over their children’s use, Facebook said. Parents fully control the contact list, and children can’t connect with contacts their parent does not approve, according to the company.

“Today, much of the time our options come down to giving kids devices and trusting things will work out, watching them closely at all times, or banning technology,” said Mr. Thompson, 38, a father of three children between 6 months to 8 years old. “Tech is going to be something kids adopt. The question is how this will happen.”

Facebook’s official entry into the children’s market is a watershed moment both for families and for the social network. Preteens and teenagers already flock to YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Musical.ly, general interest sites whose policies state that they are not for use by children under 13. Preteens are also avid senders of text messages.

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