Snapchat is working to make its app even safer for teen customers

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By Calvin S. Nelson

New York

Snapchat says it’s working to make its app even safer for teen customers.

Dad or mum firm Snap mentioned Thursday that it’s rolling out a collection of latest options and insurance policies aimed toward higher defending 13- to 17-year-old customers, together with restrictions on pal ideas and a brand new system for eradicating age-inappropriate content material. The corporate additionally launched a collection of YouTube movies for folks concerning the options and an up to date web site laying out its teen security and parental management insurance policies.

The brand new options come amid growing strain on social media platforms by lawmakers, educators and fogeys to guard younger customers from inappropriate content material, undesirable grownup consideration, illicit drug gross sales and different points. A Snap government testified alongside leaders from TikTok and YouTube in a fall 2021 Senate committee listening to about youth security on social media, promising new instruments to assist dad and mom preserve their teenagers secure. And since then, Snapchat — like different platforms — has rolled out a wide range of new teen security and parental supervision instruments.

Thursday’s announcement follows the launch final 12 months of Snapchat’s Household Middle, which provides dad and mom extra perception into who their youngsters are speaking with on the messaging app. The app’s different current teen security measures embrace prohibiting younger customers from having public profiles and having teenagers’ Snap Map location-sharing device turned off by default.

As a part of Thursday’s function rollout, Snapchat will now require 13-to-17-year-old customers to have a better variety of mutual buddies in widespread with one other account earlier than that account will present up in Search outcomes or as a pal suggestion, in an effort to keep away from teenagers including customers on the app who they don’t know in actual life. The app will even ship a pop-up warming to teenagers if they’re about so as to add an account that doesn’t share any mutual Snapchat buddies or telephone e-book contacts.

“When a teen turns into buddies with somebody on Snapchat, we wish to be assured it’s somebody they know in actual life — resembling a pal, member of the family, or different trusted particular person,” the corporate mentioned in a weblog put up.

Snapchat will even impose a brand new strike system for accounts selling content material inappropriate for teenagers in its Tales and Highlight sections, the place customers can share content material publicly on the app. If inappropriate content material is reported or detected by the corporate, it would instantly take away the content material and concern a strike in opposition to the poster’s account. If a person accrues “too many strikes over an outlined time frame, their account will probably be disabled,” the platform says, though it doesn’t lay out what number of strikes would result in a suspension.

Teen customers will even begin to see in-app content material aimed toward educating them on on-line dangers resembling catfishing and monetary sextortion — when somebody persuades a sufferer to share nude images after which blackmails them for cash — and letting them know what to do in the event that they see it, together with offering hotlines to contact for assist. The PSA-style content material will probably be featured on Snapchat’s Tales platform and in response to sure search phrases or key phrases.

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