Snapchat to bring family safety tools to protect minors using its app

San Francisco: With an aim to make its platform safer for minors, Snapchat said it is preparing to introduce its own set of “family engagement” tools in the coming months.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel teased the planned offering during an interview at the WSJ Tech Live conference this week, where he explained that the new product will essentially function as a family centre that gives parents better visibility into how teens are using its service and provide privacy controls.

According to TechCrunch, Spiegel stressed Snapchat’s more private nature as a tool for communicating with friends, noting that Snapchat user profiles were already private by default — something that differentiated it from some social media rivals until recently.

“I think the entire way this service is constructed really promotes a safe experience regardless of what age you are, but we never market our service to people under the age of 13,” he said, then added Snap is now working on new features that would allow parents to feel more comfortable with the app.

“We haven’t announced the name of this product yet, but we basically have a family center so that young people and their parents can use Snapchat together,” Spiegel said.

This product would give parents more visibility into who their teenage users may be talking to on Snapchat and their privacy settings, among other things.

Snapchat in June had shared this sort of work was on its roadmap, when parents who lost their son to a drug overdose, were advocating for the company to work with third-party parental control software applications.

At the time, it said that it was being careful about sharing private user data with third parties and that it was looking into developing its own parental controls, as a solution. (Recently, the company released tools to crack down on illicit drug sales in Snapchat to address this particular issue.)

A Snapchat spokesperson confirmed the new family engagement tools will combine both an educational component as well as tools meant to be used by parents.