NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As younger and younger children are clamoring for access to social media, there’s a new app for that.

Introducing: Facebook’s “Messenger Kids.”

When it comes to social media, apps that let people take and share pictures, videos and messages with their friends are all the rage, CBS2’s Elise Finch reported. Better still if you can decorate with fun filters and drawings.

Facebook’s new app does just that, and it’s geared toward children ages 6 to 12.

“It seems fun and cool,” one boy said.

“Yeah, drawing probably. I love my drawings,” another added.

To set up Messenger Kids, a parent has to use his or her own Facebook account. The parent selects the child’s friends and approves any new friend requests. There are no advertisements or purchases kids can make while using the app.

Still, parents Finch spoke with had mixed reactions.

“I think it’s safer in the sense that you can choose the friends and you can monitor everything that’s going on. On the other hand, you can’t do that for Snapchat,” said Tricia Champagnie, of Mount Vernon.

“For Facebook, it’s a great idea – how to target younger generations of kids,” said Elvira Kolmakova, of the Upper West Side.

“They’ll find a way to exploit the kids, I’m sure they will,” Nicholas Castiglione said. “I’d like to keep their innocence as long as possible.”

Dr. Jodi Gold is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, as well as an author and mother of three.

“I think Facebook is trying to rebrand themselves and market themselves to a younger generation that hasn’t already abandoned Facebook,” she said. “However, I am in favor of anything that allows parents to be on social media with their kids and monitor them closely.”

She went on to say that even though social media is a part of the fabric of children’s lives today, adults should not rush them into using it. No matter what website or app kids use, people should parent online the way they do offline – with a watchful eye.

Most of the major social media sites, including Facebook, require users to be at least 13 years old to sign up for an account.


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