Snapchat is bringing an initial set of parental controls to users in India — a few months after debuting in the US and some other markets — to give parents and guardians foreign market insights into how teens them using the social networking application.
The in-app tool, called Family Center, lets parents and guardians check who their teens are friends with on the social networking app and who they’ve messaged in the past seven days. (They can’t see the exact content of those messages.) It also provides the ability to report security concerns and potential abuse to Snap’s Trust and Safety team for review.
Parents and guardians must install the Snapchat app on their devices and link their accounts with their teens’ accounts using an opt-in process to use the new feature. Once the accounts are linked, you can access the tool with all of its controls either from the Snapchat app’s Profile Settings or by searching for “family” or “family center” from the app’s Search feature.
Parental controls are primarily available to parents and guardians whose teens are between 13 and 18, as Snapchat is not intended for use by younger people.
Snap first announced the arrival of its parental controls last October and introduced them to the US in August. This was followed by the launch of similar features launched by competing social media platforms such as Meta’s Instagram and TikTok. Snap’s offering, however, isn’t quite as expansive. It doesn’t allow parents and guardians to restrict their teens from using the app after a certain amount of time, for example, a feature that Instagram and TikTok also offer.
The Santa Monica, California-based company also doesn’t address concerns about inappropriate behavior like sexting on its platform with the new tool. The app’s ephemeral messages open the app up to misuse and abuse.
Snapchat has introduced some additional measures over the years, such as requiring teenagers to have mutual friends before they start chatting. The application also does not allow teens to have public profiles.
Snap said it is partnering with local non-profit organizations FXB India Suraksha and CyberPeace Foundation to launch the Family Center feature in India. It will also work closely with the two organizations to add new parental controls, the company said.
In the coming months, Snap said it plans to bring new features to Family Center, including new content controls for parents. Teens will also be able to notify their parents when they report an account or piece of content on the platform.
“Snapchat is a central communication tool for so many young Indians, and as our community continues to grow, we know parents and caregivers want additional ways to help their teens stay safe. Our new Family Center in-app tool will help parents gain more insight into who their teens are friends with on Snapchat to encourage positive conversations about online safety that respect teens’ privacy and autonomy.” , said Uthara Ganesh, Public Policy Officer. India, Snap, in a prepared statement.
Snap is also launching global bullying prevention and mental health campaigns to celebrate World Mental Health Day and Bullying Prevention Month. The company in India said it is working with the non-profit Sangath for these campaigns.
India is an important market for Snap, where it has amassed over 109 million monthly active users, according to market intelligence firm Sensor Tower. In August, Snap introduced its premium offering, Snapchat+, to the South Asian market.