How Snapchat Is Empowering Parents And Teens To Stay Safe Online

The camera platform has come up with a new in-app tool called Family Center that balances safety, privacy, and trust.

Written by Team Scary Mommy
Image courtesy of Snapchat.

If you’re a parent of a teenager, you know that privacy is literally everything; seriously, the bedroom door is closed and no parents are allowed. Sometimes, though, you just want to know your kid is safe, right?

Balancing privacy and safety can feel a little bit tricky with the Internet, especially if your kid is constantly on social media. While you don’t necessarily need to know the specifics of the latest dance trend — really, who can keep up? — it’d be nice to have a general sense of what’s going on behind the screen.

That’s why Snapchat is introducing a new in-app tool called Family Center, which will help parents get more insight into who their teens are friends with on Snapchat. Plus, it will help you see who your kids have been communicating with, without revealing any of the substance of those conversations and ensuring that you maintain trust in your teenagers’ autonomy. Besides, who has the time to keep up with that many messages?

Reflecting The Real World

Image courtesy of Snapchat.

Family Center is designed to reflect the way that parents engage with their teens IRL. In other words, parents usually know who their teens are friends with and when they are hanging out, right? That being said, we all know better than to eavesdrop on our kids’ private conversations. Let’s be real, our kids would probably never talk to us again.

To help develop Family Center, Snapchat worked with families to understand the needs of both parents and teens, knowing that everyone’s approach to parenting and privacy is different. They also consulted with experts in online safety and wellbeing to incorporate their feedback and insights.

As you know, it’s all about trusting your teen while also knowing it’s your actual job to protect them. If something’s up, you want to know, but you still want your kid to look at you at the end of the day.

Extra Protections In Place

Image courtesy of Snapchat.

Let’s dive into some details now. Snapchat opens directly to a camera, not a feed of endless content, and is focused on connecting people who are already friends in real life. By default, teens have to be mutual friends before they can start communicating with each other on Snapchat. In addition, friend lists are private, and teens can’t have public profiles.

Plus, there are protections in place to make it harder for strangers to find teens. For example, teens only show up as a "suggested friend" or in search results in limited instances, like if they have mutual friends in common. It’s kind of like making friends in real life.

On Family Center, parents can also easily and confidentially report any accounts that may be concerning directly to Snapchat’s Trust and Safety team, which work around the clock to help keep Snapchatters safe. The company is also equipping parents and teens with new resources to help them have constructive and open conversations about online safety. Seriously, communication is key.

Empowering Parents And Teens

Image courtesy of Snapchat.

So what’s on the horizon? In the coming months, Snapchat plans on adding additional features to Family Center, including new content controls for parents. Plus, teens will have the ability to notify their parents when they report an account or a piece of content to the app.

Snapchat closely moderates and curates both content and entertainment platforms, and doesn’t allow unvetted content to reach a large audience on Snapchat. Still, each family has different views on what content is appropriate for their teens, and the app gives you the option to make those personal decisions.

Ultimately, Snapchat’s goal is to help empower parents and teens in a way that still protects a teenager’s autonomy and privacy. And who knows? With a little bit of earned trust, maybe your teen will teach you a new dance trick or two.

Visit Snapchat's safety site to learn more about Family Center.

This article is sponsored by Snapchat.