Snapchat’s rolling out some new updates to its parental control and supervision tools, which will make it easier for parents to manage their kids’ exposure levels in the app.
First off, Snap’s rolling out a new overview of the safety and privacy settings of any teen user assigned to a parent under its Family Center tool.
As you can see in this example, the updated Snap settings will make it easier to get a quick overview of your child’s settings on each element, which you can then tap through and edit if needed. Which will come in handy, because Snapchat’s UI is not generally very user-friendly, which can be challenging for unfamiliar parents to contend with.
Along the same line, Snapchat’s also making its Family Center easier to locate in the app, by making it more prominent in the Settings menu, and within individual user profile displays. It’s also making it a searchable function from the main content screen.
Finally, Snapchat will also now give parents the capacity to opt their teens out of Snapchat’s “My AI” generative AI chatbot tool, which some users have found can produce concerning results.
Early tests of My AI chats found that the bot would readily provide advice to teens on how to mask the smell of alcohol and marijuana, while also offering advice on sexual relationships, and other potentially inappropriate topics. Snap has been working to improve My AI to eliminate such responses, but it’s also a good move to give parents the extra reassurance of an opt-out, if they choose.
Snapchat has added a range of parental oversight and control options over the past two years, as it works to alleviate concerns, and ensure that parents are comfortable with their child’s app usage.
The ephemeral nature of the app has made it a key platform for more risqué, controversial sharing activity, which, logically, has played a key role in enhancing its popularity among teen users. But a side effect is that it can also quite easily veer into more harmful areas, with revenge porn and cyberbullying often commonly stemming from Snapchat use.
Reports also suggest that drug dealers regularly use Snap to organize meet-ups and sales.
Given this, it’s important for Snap to offer more assurance for parents, who may be hesitant about letting their teens use the app. These enhancements will help to improve these elements, and could be a big win for the app in expanding its user base.