Understanding Parental Controls for Snapchat

While safe for most users, Snapchat can be a cause of worry for parents with teenagers using the platform. These concerns are valid given that Snapchat can expose younger users to inappropriate information and the profiles of strangers. The default privacy settings in the app can also compromise security for any user, let alone a teen or child.

Understanding Parental Controls for Snapchat

Fortunately, Snapchat offers many customizable options and settings. In this article, you’ll learn how to navigate the parental controls for Snapchat.

How to Use the Family Center

The family center is the first line of defense for those who wish to protect their teens on Snapchat. Think of the family center as a way to connect related Snapchat profiles at once. It allows you to monitor who is contacting your child’s account, disable appropriate stories and ads, and keep a close eye on their friend list. Simply put, it’s a way of establishing parental controls on the platform without invading your child’s privacy.

Here’s how to establish the family center and connect other profiles to it:

  1. After creating an account on the app, select the “Settings” option from the right-hand corner of your screen.
  2. Tap on “Privacy controls” and then tap on the “Family Center” option.
  3. Input the information necessary to set up the feature.
  4. Type out your child’s name in the invitation bar and select the “Invite” option.

The profiles receiving the invitation must accept within 24 hours, otherwise Snapchat deletes the message and you’ll need to send it again. Without an accepted invitation, you won’t be able to employ the family center’s special features.

Configuring the Parental Controls on Snapchat

Once your family center is set up with all the relevant members, it’s time to enable some of the controls. Here’s how to set parental control for sensitive content:

  1. Enter the Snapchat app and then select the “Settings” option.
  2. From settings, navigate to “Privacy Controls” and select the “Family Center” option.
  3. You’ll be taken to a menu of options. Select the “Restrict Sensitive Content” option and make sure it’s turned on.

Once configured, you can review and modify changes through the settings and family center.

The family center also has other features for optimal security:

  • Reporting suspicious and harmful accounts to Snapchat
  • Specialized friend list monitoring
  • View your child’s chat list for the last seven days

Before establishing controls with your child’s profile, consider discussing which settings to enable first. This will ensure respectful boundaries while enhancing the privacy and safety for your child or teen.

Using the Snapchat Privacy Settings

The minimum age limit for Snapchat is 13. However, many children override this by inputting a random age. There’s no detailed verification process that Snapchat offers. Before establishing parental controls, discuss deactivating your child’s account if they’re younger than the specified age in the user agreement. Alternatively, the privacy settings for Snapchat can offer an extra layer of security for any user.

Here’s how to customize the privacy settings on the Snapchat app:

  1. Enter the settings menu from your child’s profile as described in the earlier steps.
  2. Select “Privacy Controls” again.
  3. Snapchat will direct you to a menu full of different options. As an example, select “Who can contact me.”
  4. Select the desirable privacy option, such as “My friends,” and then select “Back” to save the change in settings.

Once this privacy setting is established, profiles not on your child’s friend list will be unable to contact them. The platform has other options you can toggle, such as location visibility, story visibility, and who can send notifications to the profile.

Removing the Quick Add Friend Suggestions

Another precaution you can take on your child’s profile is to disable the “quick add” feature. This feature sends suggestions of profiles to add to your friend’s list. Often, strangers may appear as suggested friends. For that reason, many parents may want to turn off the feature on their teen’s phone.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Enter the settings section on your child’s Snapchat profile.
  2. Locate “Show me in Quick Add” and turn the set-off.

Upon completion, the Snapchat algorithm won’t send suggestions for your child to add.

How to Report Inappropriate Content on Snapchat

Unfortunately, your teen may run into inappropriate content from time to time. In these situations, it’s best to report the story or post. Snapchat will then review it and the algorithm will know what content to suppress.

To report sensitive content on Snapchat, do the following:

  1. Tap and hold down the interface.
  2. After a flag icon appears in the corner, select it.
  3. Snapchat will direct you to a menu asking you to describe the issue.
  4. After filling out any relevant information, select “submit.”

Once you submit your report, you can rest assured that sensitive content won’t appear on the profile again. Snapchat may even follow up with you regarding the issue.

How to Use Snapchat Safely

While having all the necessary configurations is a step in the right direction, there are still more ways to ensure that a Snapchat profile is secure. These pointers refer to how a child should use the application:

  • Report any malicious activity or information inappropriate for younger users.
  • Block any stranger that you don’t trust on Snapchat who is trying to contact you.
  • Turn off Snapchat’s permission to your location in your device’s settings.
  • Refrain from sending any personal information as a snap, story, or in the private messaging.

Reporting Harassment and Profiles

While inappropriate content may lurk around stories and ads, you may need to know how to report other profiles for yet more safety measures. This process is a bit different than reporting content from a story.

Bear in mind that Snapchat will review the report for harassment and bullying. Users should refrain from falsely reporting someone as this can result in penalties for your profile rather than theirs.

Here’s how to report a profile that’s harassing you on the app:

  1. Locate the conversation from the chat list.
  2. Tap and hold down the profile name. Their profile will appear on the interface.
  3. Tap on the option with three dots on it and select “report.”
  4. Fill out your report submission describing what happened in detail and confirm the submission.


Should children be using Snapchat?

Snapchat has an age restriction. Children under the age of 13 shouldn’t be on the app. However, if your child is using the app, parental controls can ensure safety and privacy.

What do I do if I lost my invitation to the parental controls family center?

Ask the person who sent you the invite to send it again. Make sure to select “accept” before it disappears in 24 hours.

Keeping Your Child Safe on Snapchat

If your child is under 13, then they shouldn’t be using the Snapchat application. Discussing this could be the first step to a safe and sensible outcome. However, if they insist on using the app, the family center allows adults to monitor their activity. Other strategies for security include setting up the proper privacy settings and educating your teen on how to use the Snapchat app wisely.

Did you find it easy to set up the family center? What controls did you find helpful? Let us know in the comments section below.

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