Facebook on Monday unveiled a version of its Messenger application for children, aimed at enabling kids under 12 to connect with others under parental supervision.

Messenger Kids is being rolled out for Apple iOS mobile devices in the United States on a test basis as a standalone video chat and messaging app.

Product manager Loren Cheng said the social network leader is offering Messenger Kids because there’s a need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want.

Facebook said that the new app, with no ads or in-app purchases, is aimed at 6 to 12-year-olds. It enables parents to control the contact list and does not allow children to connect with anyone their parent does not approve.

The social media giant added it designed the app because many children are going online without safeguards.

“Many of us at Facebook are parents ourselves, and it seems we weren’t alone when we realized that our kids were getting online earlier and earlier,” a Facebook statement said.

It cited a study showing that 93 per cent of 6- to 12-year-olds in the US have access to tablets or smartphones, and two-thirds have a smartphone or tablet of their own.

“We want to help ensure the experiences our kids have when using technology are positive, safer, and age-appropriate, and we believe teaching kids how to use technology in positive ways will bring better experiences later as they grow,” the company said.

Facebook’s rules require that children be at least 13 to create an account, but many are believed to get around the restrictions.

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Pete Hammond

If there´s a new phone or computer on the market you know that Pete has it. A tech-lover beyond this world and you never see him without at least the mobile phones at the same time.

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