Snapchat is testing a new parental control feature dubbed Family Center

Snapchat on iPhone
Snapchat on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Snapchat is testing a new parental control feature.
  • Parents will be able to see who their teens are messaging and who they are friends with.
  • The new feature is called Family Center and while no release date is known, it's expected we will learn more in the next few months.

Snapchat is reportedly working on a new parental control feature that would give parents a better understanding of who their teens are following and who they have been chatting with on the service.

While parent company Snap hasn't announced the new Snapchat feature, TechCrunch reports that it has been spotted by product intelligence firm Watchful. We even know what the feature will be called — Family Center — but it isn't clear exactly when it will launch.

With Family Center, parents will be able to see who teens are friends with, something that isn't currently available right now because these following lists are invisible. Parents will also be able to see people that have been talking with their teen, potentially helping prevent abuse and harassment. On that subject, screenshots shared with TechCrunch suggest that parents will be able to assist with the reporting of abuse should the need arise.

Snapchat Family Center Screenshot

Snapchat Family Center Screenshot (Image credit: Watchful)

According to new screenshots of Snapchat's forthcoming Family Center shared with TechCrunch by the product intelligence firm Watchful, the new Family Center feature allows parents to see who their teen is friends with on the app. This is useful for parents because, unlike many social networks, Snapchat's friend lists aren't public. Parents will also have visibility into who their teen has chatted with over the past seven days — but not the contents of those conversations. The screenshots additionally explain that parents will be able to assist their teen in reporting abuse and harassment, if needed.

Notably, teens will need to accept an invitation to take part in the Family Center feature, something that may or may not prove to be problematic for some. However, as TechCrunch points out, this could be the best middle ground between keeping kids safe and affording teenagers the privacy that they need.

While Snapchat isn't saying much about this recent report, it has previously said that new parental tools are in the works. The expectation is that we will see more from Family Center in the coming months.

Snapchat is already one of the best iPhone apps for sharing images and short videos, despite constant competition from the likes of TikTok and Instagram and more parental control options are sure to be popular among those trying to keep their kids safe online.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.