By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – It isn’t easy to expand your market share and stay ahead of the competition, even when you’re a mega-corporation like Facebook. You always have to keep an eye on the future, and keep grooming the customers of the future.

And so Facebook has gifted us with the Messenger Kids app, a parent-controlled way to usher little kids into the nightmare of device addiction that is already afflicting their older siblings.

Check out the unintentionally hilarious spin Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg puts on this dubious new venture.

“As a mom, I know how meaningful it can be when kids use technology to connect with family and friends,” she said.

Are you kidding me?

Sure, it’s nice when the kids can Facetime or Skype with far-away grandparents.

But as we learn more and more about how addictive smartphones and tablets can be, how they can open the window to a world of bullying and harassment, and how little we really know about their impact on child and teen development, maybe the onset of Messenger Kids is “meaningful” in ways Sandberg doesn’t want to discuss.

The Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood wants the app pulled.

In a letter to Facebook czar Mark Zuckerberg, they note that kids already struggle with moderating their digital device time – half of those surveyed “say they feel addicted to their phones and, unsurprisingly, half of parents say controlling their kid’s screen time is a major struggle.

Facebook executives like to claim they’re all about creating a better world, but make that a bigger profit margin.

As the campaign points out “Messenger Kids is not responding to a need – it is creating one.”

Thanks, Facebook – for nothing.

Share your opinion with me via email at, or you can reach me on Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

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