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SnapKidz: Snapchat's New Kid-Friendly Feature Offers Little Comfort for Parents

SnapKidz AppEver since the social app Snapchat debuted on the App Store two years ago, parents everywhere have been hyper aware of the downsides of their teens downloading and using the popular app.

Parents are concerned about enabling their children to receive (or send) sexually inappropriate photos or videos, photos that bully, or images taken in bad taste. If parents think they can routinely check their teen's phone to look for signs of these behaviors, Snapchat puts an end to that. When you take a photo in the app, it's not saved to the camera roll, and when you view a photo in Snapchat, it's available to the viewer for less than 10 seconds, and then it's gone forever. 

While the app is technically available to those 13 years of age and older, the makers of Snapchat understand it's becoming increasing popular among younger children who lie about their age. The Snapchat team recently released an update called Snapkidz—a non-social version of the app. The Snapchat guide for parents explains that new users who enter a birth date indicating they're under the age of 13 will create a SnapKidz account instead of a Snapchat account. To abide by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), Snapchat doesn't collect anypersonal information when a child creates a SnapKidz account; all the information is stored locally on their device. 

Snapchat

SnapKidz allows kids to take photos and video and save them to their camera roll. Kids can edit their photos and videos with text and drawings but may not send or receive messages to or from friends through the app.

 
Though a great attempt by the Snapcat team, I don't see many SnapKidz users coming forward. Tweens (youth ages 8-12) will either lie about their age to register for a Snapchat account, continue to use the Snapchat account they have already created, or use a different kid-friendly photo editing service with more creative and sharing features than SnapKidz offers.
 
While the Snapchat team recognizes the issue of children under the age of 13 are accessing their app, I feel a parental control feature for sharing photos that abides by COPPA would have better met the needs of the kids who want to use Snapchat. 
 
What do you think? Do you see tweens using the new SnapKidz feature?
 
 
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Becca Ludlum's picture
Becca is a blogger, freelance writer, and iDevice addict. She lives in the middle of the Arizona desert with her husband and two boys, and can't imagine life getting any better. Read about her crazy life at MyCrazyGoodLife.com, or connect with her on twitter @BeccaLudlum