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Facebook trials new messaging app for under-13s

Facebook has pitched Messenger Kids as a way for children to communicate with family andfriends - but their parents will have control over who they speak to.
Facebook has pitched Messenger Kids as a way for children to communicate with family andfriends - but their parents will have control over who they speak to.

Facebook is trialling a new messaging app for kids.

Currently, Facebook and its messenger app are only open to registrations from people aged 13 and over.

However, the new move will open up use of the network to those under 13.

The social media giant has pitched Messenger Kids as a way for children to communicate with family and friends, with parents getting complete control over what their offspring see.

The app must be set up by parents who then get the chance to approve what contacts their children have - allaying fears that youngsters might be chatting online with strangers.

The new programme will also give Facebook the chance to enter into a consumer age range currently occupied by a small number of apps such as Snapchat.

The new app - currently a 'preview' only available in the USA and on Apple's iOS - will allow the six to 12-year-olds to video chat and send photos, videos or text messages to friends approved by their parents.

"There's really a gap in the market for a messaging app for kids that also gives parents control," Facebook spokesman Lauren Svensson said.

"We're going to see how kids are using it and that will allow us to add updates in future versions as necessary."