Facebook launches parent-controlled Messenger app for kids

FILE - In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. Facebook says a Russian internet agency posted more than 80,000 pieces of content during and after the 2016 election, and that content was distributed to an estimated 126 million users. The company plans to disclose the new numbers to Congress in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, according to a source familiar with the testimony. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is launching a messaging app for children so they can communicate with their parents and parent-approved friends.

The free Messenger Kids app is connected to parents’ Facebook accounts. Only parents will be able to add friends or delete messages. It’s launching Monday in the U.S., initially on Apple devices.

Kids under 13 can’t be on Facebook or Messenger under the company’s rules— but many already are. Messenger Kids is designed as a legal way for kids to participate. It’s heavy on visuals and includes video chat and group video chat options.

Facebook says it won’t automatically move users to the regular Messenger or to Facebook when they get old enough. The company also says Messenger Kids won’t show ads or collect data for marketing.