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Messenger Kids' new internet safety game is teaching most kids how to use Messenger

Messenger Kids' new internet safety game is teaching most kids how to use Messenger

Facebook's parent company Meta has launched new activities on its Messenger Kids platform aimed at teaching children Internet etiquette. According to a blog post by Eric Michael Weitzman, director of product management at Messenger Kids, the new gamified activities will "help kids learn how to use the Internet safely and practice healthy decision-making online."

Pledge Planets is based on what Weitzman says are the principles of Messenger Kids Pledge: Be kind, be respectful, be safe, and have fun. The first episode, titled "Be Kind," includes two games that will help kids "learn and practice how to act with kindness," the company says:

Rough Reviews: Players must help owners read reviews and match up the correct online feedback for each one. This game teaches children to recognize kind and unkind behavior and to become familiar with tools such as blocking and reporting.

Order Up: Players create a sandwich order by selecting the emoji that best responds to the customer's mood. This game teaches kids to read people's emotions online.

Weitzman writes that the company developed the Pledge and Pledge Planet activities with the guidance of experts in online safety and child development. Meta/Facebook first introduced Messenger Kids in 2017, a smaller version of its Messenger app that links to a parent's Facebook account. But last year, Facebook shelved plans for a planned children's version of its Instagram photo-sharing platform after widespread criticism.

What these two games are really doing is teaching kids how to use Messenger, putting aside the question of whether Facebook/Meta/Messenger deserves to make healthy decisions and guidance on Internet safety. Bear with me for a second, but the first thing I thought of was (much more well-intentioned and real) Sesame Street, arguably the first TV show designed to help teach preschoolers.

While Sesame Street is praised for having a positive impact on children's learning skills and its diverse, multicultural characters, many have also noted that the show encouraged children to watch television, engage and engage them. helped to teach. Well entertained. learn to play

However, when it comes to online child safety, Meta's platform's history is somewhat troubling; Internal documents from whistleblower Frances Haugen suggested that Facebook/Meta knew Instagram could be "toxic" for teen users and that its algorithms could direct children to content that could encourage self-harm. And a study last May by online child safety advocacy organization Thorn found that children receive abuse and harassment on social platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Messenger at much higher rates than previously thought.

And, recently revealed internal documents reveal that Meta is bleeding young users, with an estimate that Meta will lose 45 percent of its teen users over the next two years. Most kids don't see Facebook as a platform for them, and while Instagram remains popular with teen users, in recent years it has lost ground on its app to competitors like Bully and TikTok. That's why Meta is teaching a whole new generation how to use one of their products, which will be perfect to acquire and engage young users.

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