Snapchat has launched a parental control portal that allows parents to keep track of who their young teens have been chatting with. The new in-app feature called Family Center shows parents their child’s friends list and who they have messaged in the last seven days. Note that parents can only see who their teens have been talking to, but they cannot read their chat history. According to Snap, the center aims to “reflect how parents engage with their teens in the real world” by knowing (for the most part) who their kids are hanging out with but not listening to their conversations.
Additionally, parents can privately report accounts they believe may be violating Snap’s rules directly from Family Center. Back in January, Snapchat changed its friend-suggestion feature after calls for more security in the app by making it harder for adults to connect with teenage users: Notably, accounts of 13- to 17-year-old users no longer showed up on Quick Add. Teens also cannot have public profiles and must be mutual friends in order to communicate with each other. Also, their accounts will only show up in search results under certain circumstances, e.g. B. if the seeker has a mutual friend.
Snap promised to introduce new parental controls and other features to protect underage users on its service last year. The company unveiled its plans in a hearing where lawmakers pressured social networks and apps aimed at teens, like Snapchat and TikTok, to do more to protect children on their platforms.
Family Center is entirely voluntary, and teens can leave the portal anytime they want – they even have the choice of accepting or ignoring a parent’s invitation to join. And since the feature was designed for underage teenagers, users turning 18 will be automatically removed from the tool.
The company plans to roll out more features for Family Center on top of what it already has. It allows parents to see the latest friends their teens have added in the coming weeks. And over the next few months, Snap will add content controls for parents, as well as the ability for teens to notify their parents when they report an account or content.
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