Popular social media app Snapchat has launched a new parental control feature, ‘Family Centre’, in cooperation with the Ministry of Possibilities in the UAE.
This feature allows parents and guardians to have control over their children’s activities on the Internet. Parents can view a full list of their children’s friends on Snapchat and the people with whom they communicate. However, they will not be able to view the content of the conversations, in order to protect privacy.
This update helps parents report any abusive or suspicious accounts directly by communicating with Snap’s Trust and Safety Team – a dedicated unit that works around the clock to protect Snapchat users.
By developing the new feature, Snap aimed to roll out a set of tools specifically designed to reflect human behaviour on the ground and enhance trust and cooperation between parents and their children.
The company has reached out to families to identify the needs of parents and their children to sound out their views on parenting standards and privacy, which vary from person to person. The company also consulted with online safety and security experts to consider their opinions to help develop the new Family Centre feature.
Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, witnessed the launch of ‘Family Centre’ in a ceremony attended by UAE ministers and representatives from Snapchat. During the ceremony, an Emirati family, the first to use the new feature, signed up for ‘Family Centre.’
Commenting on the launch of the new feature, the Ministry of Possibilities confirmed that this is a step that reflects the commitment of the UAE government to provide its citizens and residents with all the appropriate tools that guarantee their safety, protect their privacy on the Internet, and enhance their confidence.
The ministry stated that this cooperation with a well-known and world-famous platform such as Snapchat will help enhance efforts to educate all citizens and residents in the country and enable them to protect their children and loved ones.
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Georg Wolfart, Head of Public Policy at Snap Inc, said, “With the launch of Family Centre, we add new levels of safety and new communication avenues for families to discuss online threats. We are confident that Family Centre will become the new benchmark for online safety.”
‘Family Centre’ is one of many features on Snapchat designed keeping children’s safety in mind. One of these is that children must be mutual friends before they can start communicating with each other. Secondly, friend lists are private, and children cannot have public profiles. Other protections make it harder for strangers to find children. For example, children and youth only show up as a “suggested friend” or in search results in limited instances, like if they have mutual friends in common.
Snap plans additional safety features for Family Centre in the coming months, including new content controls for parents and the ability for children to notify parents when they report an account. A new feature allowing parents to view new friends their children have added will also launch soon.