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Health Secretary Hits Out at Facebook's New App, Says 'Stay Away From My Kids' ( 113

Jeremy Hunt has publicly attacked Facebook for releasing a version of its Messenger app aimed at children, and called on the social media company to "stay away from my kids." From a report: The health secretary accused the company of "targeting younger children" after Facebook announced on Monday that it was conducting trials of an app called Messenger Kids in the US, which is designed to be used by pre-teens. He said the company was failing to act responsibly despite having assured the government that it would not target its service at children, who can only use the main social media website if they are over 13.
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Health Secretary Hits Out at Facebook's New App, Says 'Stay Away From My Kids'

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  • Be a parent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @05:00PM (#55683015)

    How about you stop expecting everybody else in the world to do what you want them to do and instead be a parent to your child. Part of that is filtering and explaining the real world around them so as they grow so they don't end up as some special little snowflake thinking the world is responsible to be nice to them and not offer them things that may be detrimental to them.

    You need to teach them to make responsible choices and to do that you do need to be there and be a part of their lives, especially at that early age.

    • Re:Be a parent (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Captain Splendid ( 673276 ) <> on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @05:05PM (#55683059) Homepage Journal
      I've long said the death of sane politics in the West is not the fault of liberals or conservatives, but parents.
    • Facebook is trying to put pretty intense pressure on children by having all their friends communicate via FB Messenger. Look at the number of people on /. who hate FB, but feel compelled to use it because everyone else is. If you think a parent can stop intense peer pressure... well, I have a bridge to sell you.

      Also, children under 13 cannot make responsible choices. I think that's pretty much understood.

      • Also, children under 13 cannot make responsible choices. I think that's pretty much understood.

        But their parents can (hopefully).

        If you think a parent can stop intense peer pressure... well, I have a bridge to sell you.

        You can are going to let you child do something that you vehemently is wrong because you don't want them to experience peer pressure? Please do not have children.

        • I think the troubling thing here is that Facebook did actually go on record saying that they wouldn't do the very thing that they are doing now. If there was some sort of shakeup in management, I'd slightly understand it, but no, literally the people who told everyone that they wouldn't do this, decided to do the thing they said they wouldn't do. To me that's the highlight here. All the other stuff seems to be fluff and opinion, but this is a company that just basically said, "Yeah, we said that. Fuck i

          • That was before their user growth started to slow down - apparently all the cool kids are using snapchat now (which I heard on Business Matters on the BBC last night, see how down with the kids I am!!)

            So yes, entirely driven by a need to capture more eyeballs for their advertisers.

            • all the cool kids are using snapchat now

              Maybe if they fix their brain-dead-pinch-zoom bullshit feature/failture in Instagram, some will use that and then they too can be monitored. Creepy fucks.

        • You can are going to let you child do something that you vehemently is wrong because you don't want them to experience peer pressure?

          No, I'm not going to let them do whatever. Way to strawman. But I'm also not going to silently let society apply peer pressure to them. That is, I consider part of protecting my kids isn't just forbidding them from partaking in activities, but also modifying society to be better for them.

        • You can are going to let you child do something that you vehemently is wrong

          You a word or two somewhere.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My thirteen year old is just now going to be getting a cell phone, even though according to her all of her friends have had one for years.

        I told her no when she asked over and over again, even with tears. I explained that it was for her good, and that I was not going to throw money around on something like that before she shows the responsibility to handle it properly and follow all the rules. Guess what. It worked. She has shown much greater responsibility, less back talk, and less disrespect to us, he

        • Good for you, although I still think 13 is too young for a phone. Doesn't really change that FB is trying to hook all her friends. So when she does get a cell phone, she'll be installing FB, because that's where her friends are.

          Again, look at the number of people who feel compelled to use FB to communicate with people and who are adults. Why should people would be happy about that cancer growing into the next generation?

        • The funny thing is that she didn't actually want a cell phone until you gave her one. I remember all the things I thought I wanted growing up but didn't get and how I never really minded not having them.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The app, Messenger Kids, is a messaging service that gives parents authority over who their kids can chat with. Once a parent adds someone to their child's contact list through the main Facebook app, kids can video chat as well as send photos, videos, and texts, or pick something from "a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks, and drawing tools," according to Facebook's announcement post.

        It's down to the parents to make the decision, now of course you can bow to peer

      • That's why you learn to make responsible choices and part of that is being given the choice.
        • I agree, but part of letting kids make their own choices is making sure those choices have limited consequences. Given how FB gathers data, manipulates users and the general addictiveness of apps and social media, I'm not sure a FB app is a good set of training wheels.

    • you'd be amazed how many people get tricked into it. Or they're just plain denied birth control by religious zealots. Yeah, yeah. Don't have sex. Because abstinence based education programs work so well. You do realized that it's a basic biological need, right? If it wasn't there's be no human race. It's a pretty raw deal for the individual organism after all.

      What I'm getting at is this: lots of folks get roped into parenthood unfairly. A just society would support them and make their lives and their ch
    • by e3m4n ( 947977 )

      My thoughts were that an app like this pretty much puts a jailbait label on anyone using it. Instead of being an anonymous identity of unknown age, we now have an app specifically targeting 9-12yrs old (despite the rules of facebook saying you must be 13). Regardless of how safe they think they are going to be, pervs are still going to troll, possibly 1 out of 10 of membership. It reminds me of the days of online chat where some friends would tell me that more than half the users in lesbian chat rooms were

    • by orlanz ( 882574 )

      Would you have said the same about the cigarette industry targeting pre-teens and teens? Or is there no line here?

      How does a parent who at best can single channel only spend about 8 hours a day with their children compete against the multichannel bombardment of social pressures, ads, and peers? Normally the former would be less than 8 hours and the latter would be more than 8 hours (school, friends, tv, etc).

      Its hard enough for most adults to make responsible choices on a daily basis, let alone have kids

  • when we have kids... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @05:04PM (#55683047)

    When we have kids, the rule will be:
    (1) No use of Facebook till they're grown up
    (2) No pictures/tagging of them on Facebook until the same age

    Why? Because children don't have enough knowledge to know whether they want to add their faces and identities to the largest corporate facial recognition database in the world.

    Not afraid of "predators", other than the corporate variety.

    • When you have kids you'll learn they're more resourceful than prisoners. The boomers stuck in the social media ghetto that is Facebook will be the least of your online concerns.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I always get a good chuckle when I hear people without kids pontificate about what they will and won't do when they have kids.

      • Many intelligent friends of ours have the same policy. No Fecesbook. No photos of kids on Fecesbook. No tagging on Fecesbook.
        • by e3m4n ( 947977 )

          its not that saying this makes you unintelligent, merely naive. By the time they get to be 13ish, they will have acquired at least 1 or more social media accounts without their parents knowledge (its not like FB shows up and cards the applicant). So without the most elaborate of content filtering, along with mobile device app filtering, app blocking, restricting content when using the dataplan instead of wi-fi, etc, you're going to lose. Even with ALL of those features, its still not enough. There are proxi

    • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @05:52AM (#55686361) Journal

      When we have kids

      Translation: I have no fucking idea about how kids actually behave nowadays.

    • That's good. Set the challenges early. But really you have to make it harder than that. Seriously no Facebook? I wonder what you think about that rule the first time you see a teenage boy jump out of your daughter's second story bedroom as you pull into the driveway.

      All I can say man: Good luck. I think you are in for just as much of an education as your children will be.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There is no "health secretary" in the US. The summary is very confusing.

    No, linking to a wikipedia article does not suffice. Maybe writing a few more words in TFS would help clear up this confusion?

    Now, YOU - yes YOU - before you write in outrage about how I'm all up my own ass thinking "Everything is about the US", please consider that the only country mentioned in TFS is the US. And then consider that msmash has repeatedly not explained British-centric terms, phrases, politics, and other things in summ

    • Yes, the summary is shit, but we all knew msmash is a moron, and hopefully isn't more than an unpaid intern on the org chart.

      Editors, if you're listening, be sure to add "UK" to TFS, and start the lead with that, since no one know (or will care) who "Jeremy Hunt" is unless his middle name is "Mike".
    • The editing here is The Trousers. (Did I do that right?)


  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, right or wrong, I would prefer he stay away from my kids... - []
  • ______________ for our children!

    ______________ is bad for the children.

    Only ______________ can save the children.

  • Smart enough to pioneer Facebook and grow it into the biggest thing on the Internet. Dumb enough to make one wrong choice after another with Facebook. Facebook, after so many years, does not even have a well laid out UI/UX design. This is a man who keeps repeating the not very sensible mantra that "all our lives should be more transparent". Then he tapes over the webcam and USB port on his own laptop and razes homes adjoining his huge new property so that his "family and kids can have some privacy growing u
  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @05:39PM (#55683389) Journal
    Seriously people how much more invasive creepy shit is the rest of the world going to put up with from Facebook before they say no mas! and walk away from it? Facebook does not enhance your life, 'connect' you with anyone in ways you can't do otherwise, or anything else good, all it does is creep on you, collect data from you to sell to other creepy companies, and otherwise encourage the absolute worst humanity has to offer to come out from under the rocks they've been hiding under. Enough already, let's kill Facebook.
  • by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @05:49PM (#55683511)

    My kids are 11 and 14. My 14y/o just got her first smartphone last month.

    It's a couple year old iPhone 6S and it's locked down. Adjusting parental settings allowed me to prevent certain websites and totally removed the app store.

    Yes, it's actually locked down more than I would like it to be. But I want her to get used to it as a locked down device with the opportunity to increase her permissions in the future.

    Next year I'll probably let my 11y/o get a flip phone.

    • But I want her to get used to it as a locked down device with the opportunity to increase her permissions in the future

      Nothing says training an Apple user like getting them into a very walled garden early.

      To be clear I'm not commenting about your parenting. I genuinely don't know the answer. But we have only in the past 10 years been surprised, disgusted and generally confused at the general acceptance of corporate control in the guise of keeping us safe from ourselves. I do wonder if we have actually been subconsciously trained like this by our parents. You can't go through years of control only to flip that magic 18yr swi

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Brexit negotiations have handed the swivel-eyed wing of the Tory party another hammering, so this story is pure deflection. Hunt is a liar, and incompetent to boot, but he's nothing if not a useful idiot for the so-called greater good. The sooner this pack of retards is on the dole, the sooner we can return the country to some semblance of normality.

    CAPTCHA: "behead". If only, dear algorithm; if only.

  • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @06:14PM (#55683703) Journal

    That question to Zuck and Facebook management is, "Would you allow your children to use this app"?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Conservative Party! Aren't they supposed to be all about deregulation and unfettered capitalism? To hell with the little guy, the little guy is there to be milked for all he's worth. Isn't that what the Conservative Party is all about?

    And he's complaining this? What the hell man, make up your mind. You can't have it both ways.

  • Somebody should tell Jeremy Hunt everybody's kids are not his kids.
  • We're trying to keep our elected representatives off our kids.

  • If you don't know how little toilet paper a corporate promise is worth in this century, you just haven't been living.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.