Facebook this week announced its new social media application targeted at children, Messenger Kids. Designed to be COPPA-compliant, the text, video chat and photo-sharing app combines parental controls with all of the quirky features that tweens and younger folks will simply love, thereby ensuring Facebook will enjoy a next generation of engaged customers … and also their data.
The new app drops smack into the ongoing cultural debate over the wisdom of young children being exposed to regular internet and social media use. Detractors of the new Facebook app note concerns about data collection and use. The Wait until 8th campaign advocates for no smart phone use until eighth grade. Notably, both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs limited their children’s access to technology. And studies regularly link social media use with increased rates of depression among youth.
The notion is that young people should be protected from unfettered exposure to social media and the Internet until they are old enough to use these tools with responsibility and moderation. Fair point, but a flawed premise: when it comes to responsible and moderate use of technology, we adults still have a lot of work to do.
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