Experts Pan Facebook’s Messenger Kids App

From the great Axios newsletter:

Child development experts and advocates are urging Facebook to pull the plug on its new messaging app aimed at kids, AP reports:

  • “A group letter sent [today] to CEO Mark Zuckerberg argues that younger children — the app is intended for those under 13 — aren’t ready to have social media accounts, navigate the complexities of online relationships or protect their own privacy.”
  • “Facebook launched the free Messenger Kids app in December, pitching it as a way for children to chat with family members and parent-approved friends. It doesn’t give kids separate Facebook or Messenger accounts. Rather, the app works as an extension of a parent’s account, and parents get controls such as the ability to decide who their kids can chat with.”
  • The letter, signed by psychiatrists, pediatricians, educators and the children’s music singer Raffi Cavoukian: “Messenger Kids is not responding to a need — it is creating one … It appeals primarily to children who otherwise would not have their own social media accounts.”
  • Facebook’s response: The app “helps parents and children to chat in a safer way.” Parents are “always in control … [T]here is no advertising in Messenger Kids.”
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Kids and the Future of AI

Friend of Tablettoddlers Cory Treffiletti has a great column today on MediaPost about kids and the future of AI.

What really caught my attention was the part about how advertising resonates with his kids because watching commercials in a world in which everything is on-demand is almost like a rare treat.  Tablettoddlers was just having this same conversation over a delicious Chinese food lunch today with friends Joanna and Glen.

When it comes to our kids and AI, I agree wholeheartedly with Cory’s closing line…”it’s going to be an interesting 20 years ahead, that’s for sure.”

Image result for kids and alexa

Limiting Kids’ Access to Smartphones, Tablets and Computers is so 2017

Some educators and researchers are now starting to say that children could benefit from spending more time with screens. New guidance calls for monitoring varieties of interaction, favoring “active” time and creative pursuits over “passive” experiences like watching hours of video.

Check out this Wall Street Journal article for more.

Apple Defends Its Smartphone Practices for Children

Apple Inc. defended its record of providing parental controls and other protections for children who use its iPhones and other devices, after a pair of prominent investors called on the tech giant to take more steps to curb the ill effects of smartphones. In a statement, Apple said that its mobile software includes extensive parental controls governing different types of content and applications, noting that it started offering some of them as early as 2008.

For more, check out this Wall Street Journal article.

A baby girl plays with a cellphone while riding on the New York subway. Two major Apple investors have urged the iPhone maker to take action to curb growing smartphone use among children, highlighting growing concern about the effects of gadgets and social media on youngsters.