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As many as 97 child health advocates have sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urging him to discontinue Messenger Kids, as they claim the app is likely will undermine healthy childhood development by encouraging excessive use of digital devices and social media.
Messenger Kids app began a preview release in December last year.
The advocacy group, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, has detailed the concerns in a letter saying: “Messenger Kids will likely be the first social media platform widely used by elementary school children [four- to -11-year-olds].
“But a growing body of research demonstrates that excessive use of digital devices and social media is harmful to children and teens, making it very likely this new app will undermine children’s healthy development.
“Younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts.
“They are not old enough to navigate the complexities of online relationships, which often lead to misunderstandings and conflicts even among more mature users.”
Facebook , however, clarified: “Since we launched in December we’ve heard from parents around the country that Messenger Kids has helped them stay in touch with their children and has enabled their children to stay in touch with family members near and far.
“For example, we’ve heard stories of parents working night shifts being able read bedtime stories to their children, and mums who travel for work getting daily updates from their kids while they’re away.”