Snapchat’s New Family Centre Tool Will Make The App Safer For Teens

Alice Duthie
on 9 August 2022

Today, Snapchat is rolling out their Family Centre update in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The update will make the app safer for teens to use.

“Our Family Centre feature will help parents get more insight into who their teens are friends with on Snapchat, helping foster positive conversations about online safety within families, while respecting the privacy and autonomy of teens,” says Kathryn Carter, General Manager, APAC, Snap. 

Kathryn Carter
Kathryn Carter, APAC Snap

Snap recently conducted a study on online wellbeing, which brought some important insights to their attention. The study was conducted in April of 2022 with over 9,000 teens, young adults and parents of teens.

The study found that 60% of parents who had regular conversations with their teens about online risks said they trusted their teens to behave appropriately online and didn’t feel the need to actively monitor their activities. That compares to 42% of parents who said they don’t check in regularly. 

What’s more, 13-19 years olds who were in regular conversation with their parents about their online activities were more likely to tell their parents if they experienced an online risk. On average, 62% of these teens told their parents what happened after experiencing an online risk.

social media phone teen Family Centre

As we all know, Snapchat is a central communications tool for young people, and Snap has acknowledged that parents and caregivers want additional ways to help keep their teens safe. 

Prior to the update, the following safety features were already in place:

  • By default, teens have to be mutual friends before they can start communicating with each other. 
  • Friend lists are private, and teens can’t have public profiles. 
  • And 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.

In addition to these pre-existing features, Family Centre adds an extra layer of protection. The update will help parents get more insight into who their teens are friends with on Snapchat, and who they have been communicating with, without revealing any of the substance of those conversations. 

How Family Centre works

On Family Centre, parents can also easily and confidentially report any accounts that may be concerning directly to Snapchat’s Trust and Safety teams, which work around the clock to help keep Snapchatters safe. They’re also equipping parents and teens with new resources to help them have constructive and open conversations about online safety. 

To help develop Family Centre, Snap 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. Their goal was to create a set of tools designed to reflect the dynamics of real-world relationships and foster collaboration and trust between parents and teens.

In the coming months, Snapchat plans on adding additional features to Family Centre, including new content controls for parents and the ability for teens to notify their parents when they report an account or a piece of content.

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