Facebook on Monday announced it would be rolling out a preview of Messenger Kids in the United States, a new parent-controlled app to make it easier for kids to video chat and message with loved ones. Thrilled to launch Messenger Kids. An app designed for kids 6-12 to connect with their family and friends, with parental controls to ensure they do so safely. It includes realtime video chat with AR effects for more fun! pic.twitter.com/r9Lb9w6R6G — David Marcus (@davidmarcus) December 4, 2017 » RELATED: How to keep your kids safe on social media In a company blog post, Antigone Davis — public policy director and global head of safety at Facebook — wrote that the media site has been working on the product for the past 18 months, working closely with leading child development experts, parents and educators. Davis named some reasons Facebook decided to create Messenger Kids and why they decided to create it right now. » RELATED: Facebook to add 800 jobs in London as it opens new office She cited research that shows some 93 percent of U.S. kids ages six to 12 have access to tablets or smartphones — and 66 percent have their own device, often using apps meant for teens and adults. In a collaboration with the  National Parent Teacher Association on a study with more than 1,200 American parents of children under the age of 13, Facebook found three out of every five parents surveyed said their kids under 13 use messaging apps, social media or both, while 81 percent reported their children started using social media between the ages of 8 and 13. » RELATED: Did you fall for these fake ads? How Russian trolls got into your Facebook feeds Kids said they want to use the platforms to have fun and connect with family. But safety is a growing concern among parents. “My concern is safety, getting friend requests from people you don’t know, chatting with people you don’t know, giving out information to strangers,” one parent participant in the National PTA roundtable said. » RELATED: Georgia high school student in trouble after ‘threatening’ social media image With the guidance of experts at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Center on Media and Child Health, the American