Upcoming Snapchat parental controls will offer limited opportunities for chat monitoring
Parent company Snap has been slower to offer Snapchat parental controls than other social media apps, but it will be offering parents and guardians limited chat-monitoring capabilities.
Limited because teens will have to approve the monitoring, and because parents won’t be able to see the actual content of messages …
Most social media apps have offered parental controls for some years now, making Snap one of the last major companies to act.
The company said late last year that this would be changing, and the first specific feature was announced in January.
There will be options to limit friend suggestions for teen users so that adult strangers won’t find these accounts easily […] Snapchat will no longer show 13- to 17-year-old users’ accounts as suggestions to other users unless they have a certain number of friends in common. This won’t stop strangers from adding teenagers on the social network, but it will certainly make it harder for them to chat with teens they don’t know […]
This move comes as part of Snapchat’s efforts to combat the “fentanyl epidemic,” as the social network has been accused of failing to prevent “drug-related content.”
It was yesterday reported that social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok are now the primary method for illegal drug purchases by teenagers and young adults.
“Social media is almost exclusively the way they get the pills,” said Morgan Gire, district attorney for Placer County, Calif., where 40 people died from fentanyl poisoning last year.
Additional Snapchat parental controls
TechCrunch reports on a new Family Center feature spotted by a market intelligence company.
According to new screenshots of Snapchat’s forthcoming Family Center shared with TechCrunch by the product intelligence firm Watchful, the new Family Center feature allows parents to see who their teen is friends with on the app. This is useful for parents because, unlike many social networks, Snapchat’s friend lists aren’t public.
Parents will also have visibility into who their teen has chatted with over the past seven days — but not the contents of those conversations. The screenshots additionally explain that parents will be able to assist their teen in reporting abuse and harassment, if needed.
The parental control feature works by allowing parents to invite their teen (or teens) to the new in-app Family Center in order to begin the monitoring. The recipient of that invitation has the option of either accepting or declining the invitation.
The piece also stresses that the final Family Center launched by Snap may differ from the initial version seen here.
What’s your take?
Where teens are concerned, it’s always a difficult balancing act, between respecting the privacy of teenagers and protecting them from harm.
Some might accuse Snap of doing the least it could possibly get away with here, while others will take the view that if your teens decline to accept your invitation to opt in, then you have bigger problems than the way they use an app.
What’s your view? If you’re a parent, please share your thoughts in the comments.