Hubris, thy name is SnapKidz: Why Snapchat’s kid-safe version is pointless

From Digital Trends:

kids and snapchat

Snapchat introduced a new feature on its most recent iOS version: SnapKidz, a special mode for children under 13. But parents exhaling sighs of relief should probably suck that breath back in real fast, because SnapKidz will have minimal impact on young people swapping ill-advised pictures. And it’s a prime example of how social networks do not have solutions for keeping underage children off their services.

Anyone over 13 can use Snapchat, but SnapKidz puts the app in a safe mode when children under 13 try to sign up. If they enter their age honestly and they’re too young to legally use the app, Snapchat doesn’t actually create an account for them. Instead, it still lets these users take pictures, write captions, doodle, and do everything else you can do with a Snapchat picture – but it won’t let them send these snaps anywhere. It just saves the photos locally. So … you don’t actually send snaps out into the world. It’s prefect if you want to trick your child into believing Snapchat is actually just a photo-editing app, but otherwise they’re going to know something’s up and try to get around it. And trust that get around it they will.

The fact that Snapchat is trying to install some training wheels isn’t without merit. The app is a hit with teens, but it’s also extremely conducive to sending impulsive, sexual photos. It’s a fun tool for people with fully-developed prefrontal cortexes, but even then, mortgage-and-tax paying adults aren’t immune from sending something poorly conceived into the digital ether from time to time. And even though snaps are meant to be impermanent, people can be awful, so some of these meant-for-two-eyes-only pictures get spread around the Internet. SnapKidz means Snapchat acknowledges children should keep out, and that’s a step in the right direction – at least, hypothetically. In reality, it’s a meaningless mea culpa that will achieve absolutely nothing.

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