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Can you recommend a messaging app that's safe for kids?
Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Kik Messenger, and Snapchat are super popular with kids and teens but they're not always safe. Kids love them because they offer richer multimedia experiences than regular SMS texting. Many messaging apps come with additional features that let users do way more than chat and share photos and videos: Kids can collect points to trade for stickers and emojis, stream additional news and content, play games, and even gain access to other chatting apps with different (not always age-appropriate) functionality.
But these extra features, plus the privacy and safety issues, make messaging apps better suited for social-media-savvy teens. Also, in addition to the standard display ads and in-app purchases, many companies are testing new marketing methods that meld advertising and content, such asKik Messenger's "promoted chats" (in which brands text with users). Some track and collect user data -- including location -- for marketing purposes. Learn more about helping teens use these programs safely and responsibly.
If you have younger kids who are eager to get in on the messaging-app craze, some excellent programs are designed for users under 13. Check out:
Marimba Chat, age 8+: This app lets tweens in on the texting fun and offers lots of safety features and parental controls.
Kuddle, age 9+: An Instagram-like app with built-in protections to ease kids into the world of photo sharing.
Yo, age 12+: This monosyllabic texting app uses one word -- "Yo" -- to convey whatever you need it to, such as "I made it home OK, " "I need a ride," or "I'm thinking of you."
Do you know of a safe messaging apps for kids?