Snapchat is making it easier for parents to monitor kids’ social-media activity.
Snap Inc. is introducing tools to allow better supervision of teen behavior for parents or trusted adults on its popular disappearing photo and video app, Snapchat.
Last year, Snap announced it was working on a new parental control feature for its popular social media app. The update follows other platforms favored by teens, including Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube that previously launched parental controls.
The new tool, called Family Center, lets designated adults over the age of 25 view their teen’s friends, see who they’ve messaged in the past week, and anonymously report abusive accounts. They will not be able to see snaps, chats, or time spent by the teen on the app. Snap notes the feature is only available to parents and teens aged 13 through 18 as the app is not meant to be used by younger users.
Parents will have to get the app on their own device and then can send teens an invite to Family Center, which they can either accept or reject. The tools will be available Tuesday in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, says a spokesperson for Snapchat.
Family Center has been in the works for over a year, taking input from researchers and online safety experts, as well as running focus groups with teens and parents, Snap says. Ultimately, the design is meant to mimic the oversight a parent or caregiver may have in real life: Knowing who a teen is spending time with so they can intervene when necessary, without being privy to the content of conversations, reports Bloomberg.
The launch comes as social networks are being pressured to better protect their minor users from harm both in the U.S. and abroad. This has led many companies to introduce parental controls and other safety features to comply with laws and regulations.