Snapchat offers new parental settings, allowing you to view your contact list

Like other social media platforms frequented by children, Snapchat is fertile ground for sexual predators and sellers of banned substances, with very few barriers between them and potential victims.

Reacting in a late response to criticism and accusations they’ve already received for years, Snaphat administrators announce that they’ve developed a new parental control system that allows parents to inspect their children’s friends list and even view messages and video call sessions in progress if they suspect possible abuse.

Specifically, the new Family Center section functions as a central location where parents of children ages 13 to 17 can see much of their activity. For example, in addition to the list of friends, all message exchanges from the last 7 days are shown. Also, teens cannot have public profiles and must be mutual friends to communicate with each other. In addition, their accounts will only appear in search results under certain circumstances, such as if the searcher has a mutual friend with them.

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The bad news is that the new parental settings will most likely only have a minimal effect, in the sense of breaking the endless string of connections made from close-to-home by Snapchat’s algorithms, while not preventing those people from contacting their potential victims directly, either through chat messages or friend requests, if they still manage to discover them on the platform. This leaves it up to parents to detect and intervene in situations that deserve attention.

Another shortcoming is that the new parental control features are purely optional and should first be activated by a parent (e.g. parent with administrative rights over Snapchat accounts registered to children under 17).

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In contrast, the dangers to children and teens receptive to friend requests on Snapchat are among the greatest, and there are already numerous cases where young people first approached on Snapchat have been lured into using banned substances.

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