Should Parents Let Young Children Use Facebook Messenger in Quarantine?

One of the biggest tech-sector beneficiaries of the pandemic has been Facebook’s Messenger Kids app, which has seen active accounts grow by more than 3.5 times since the beginning of March. “It was clear our very extroverted daughter was having a hard time not connecting with friends,” Rain Henderson tells The Wall Street Journal. “Were it not for the pandemic, we wouldn’t have done it.” But while parents are in full control of who their kids communicate with on the app, which also doesn’t allow external marketing, Christine Elgersma, senior editor of social media and learning resources at Common Sense Media, sees it as a slippery slope. “You’re indoctrinating them into the world of social media,” she says. “I think there’s a risk of children feeling the pressure to always be on.” That helps explain why, when her 10-year-old daughter was recently invited to join, Elgersma declined.