Facebook launches 'Messenger Kids' app

When it comes to social media, how young is too young?

"My kids are 11, 9 and 6," said father of three John Hunt.

The new Facebook app "Messenger Kids" is raising concerns as to whether or not the social media site created the app for their own benefit or as a safe way for parents to introduce the world of social media to their children.

"I do think their main goal in this is to reach a younger demographic, so when kids grow up, they are Facebook users as well, but they also think of Facebook's defense of it, they are trying to meet this need in a way that parents can control and a way that they can look at and I do see some of that," Hunt said.

Federal law states that children who are younger than 13 years of age are not allowed to sign up for a Facebook account. However, the app allows parents to sign their children up for the service through their own account.

Stacy Delgado, the School Resource Officer at Jim Ned, thinks that introducing children to social media is smart.

"At some point, you do have to introduce kids to it because it is really big in the schools. They use electronics for everything," said Delgado.

Social media will only become more popular as time goes on and Hunt wants to educate his children on how to be safe on the internet.

"I think if we don't teach our kids how to use social media, they are going to learn from their friends or just figure it out by trying," Hunt said.

The app is compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, which protects children from online exploitation.

"I really do appreciate the effort that they are making because there really isn't something in that niche for kids, but kids are using social media," Hunt said.

But of course, with anything that you or your child decide to do online, it's recommended by law enforcement officials that you take necessary safety precautions before surfing the web. Update privacy settings and do not friend anyone that you are unfamiliar with on social media.

Delgado urges parents to stop by the Taylor County Sheriff's Office if they want more information regarding ways to keep their children safe online.

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