Snapchat debuts parental controls amid higher scrutiny

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(The Hill) — Snapchat will allow parents to view who their teen users are connecting with on the app without viewing the content of the messages, the company said in a blog post Tuesday. 

The feature is under the new Family Center on the app and comes after increased scrutiny from lawmakers over youth safety on Snapchat and other apps. 

Through the Family Center, parents can see who their teen users are friends with and communicating with, but it does not let them view the substance of the conversations. 

Snapchat said the tool is designed to “reflect the way that parents engage with their teens in the real world, where parents usually know who their teens are friends with and when they are hanging out – but don’t eavesdrop on their private conversations.”

Parents can also confidentially report any accounts that may be concerning to Snapchat. 

Snapchat will roll out additional features to the Family Center in the fall, including content controls for parents and the ability for teens to notify their parents when they report an account or piece of content. 

Snapchat’s blog post also highlighted existing features in the platform that the company said keeps young users safe. For example, by default teen users have to be mutual friends before they can communicate with each other. The app also does not allow teens to have public profiles, and teens only show up as a “suggested friend” in limited instances. 

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