Amidst lawsuits filed against Snapchat by families whose children have developed mental illnesses and eating disorders or tragically lost their lives to suicide, Snapchat has rolled out new updates to its parental control tools. This comes after Snapchat’s announcement last October about updating its Family Centre framework to enable parents to gain better control over how their children use the social media networking app.
In one of the court hearings, it was observed that the interface and ephemeral nature of the app manipulated teens into getting addicted to the platform. The app has zero framework to prevent young adults from accessing harmful content on the platform, and Snapchat’s disappearing messages feature makes it easier for teens to engage in bullying without worrying about consequences.
The app’s updated settings will give parents a comprehensive overview and editing access to their child’s app settings. Snapchat has also made the Family Centre accessible through the settings menu and user profile displays. In a formative breakthrough, the app will also allow parents to opt their teens from engaging with the My AI generative chatbot over concerning results.
While enabling parental control is one step in the right direction for families worldwide, what does it mean for brands using the platform for marketing?
From a marketing perspective, brands will likely welcome this development as it aligns with growing societal concerns about online safety for minors. By offering parents more robust tools to manage their children's exposure levels, Snapchat will likely enhance its reputation as a responsible platform, potentially attracting a broader user base.
For brands, this move can be advantageous in several ways. It will contribute to a more favorable public image for Snapchat, which can indirectly benefit the brands associated with the platform. Parents may feel more comfortable allowing their children to engage with Snapchat, knowing that the platform is actively addressing safety concerns.
Yazan Jamal, Social Media Executive at Crowd Dubai, believes that “ Brands might need to rethink their marketing strategies to align with these new norms, focusing more on content that adheres to parental preferences and is beneficial for a younger audience. This shift could lead to more creative and thoughtful marketing approaches that respect the concerns of both parents and younger users.”
The parental control tool updates can potentially create a safer, more family-friendly environment on Snapchat, but will it arrest the growing urgency of protecting children from online harm? We are yet to see.
“While Snapchat's enhanced parental controls are essential for protecting young users, they highlight the need for a balanced approach that respects privacy and fosters healthy online behaviour among children.”, says Deniz Abdulal, Social Media Manager at Crowd Dubai.