Snapchat lets parents see who their kids are chatting with

Snapchat on Tuesday launched a new in-app tool to allow parents to observe who their children are chatting with, without letting guardians see the content of private chats. Children will also be able to see how their parents see them via the Snapchat ‘Family Center’ feature, which has been rolled out in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with other countries to follow soon. Parents and guardians will be able to see kids’ friends list, which accounts they’ve been communicating with within the past week, and directly report suspicious accounts to Snapchat.

“Family Center is designed to reflect the way that parents engage with their teens in the real world, where parents usually know who their teens are friends with and when they are hanging out — but dona’t eavesdrop on their private conversations,” the company said in a statement. Both the guardian and the child must accept the Family Center invite before the oversight tools can take effect.

Once the invites are accepted, a guardian can see the child’s friends list and a list of accounts they’ve interacted with over the last seven days.

Unlike Instagram’s ‘Family Center,’ Snapchat’s tool will not allow parents to set time limits for kids to use the app or how long they have been active on the platform. However, Snapchat will add similar features in the near future with more control to parents on content. “Our Family Center 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,” said Kathryn Carter, Snap’s APAC general manager.