Snapchat will allow parents to monitor who their teenagers are talking to, without prying on their private conversations.
The social media app popular with teens will launch a new tool called Family Centre, which links to their child’s Snapchat. It requires parents to have an account on the app and to be friends with their child’s account.
The safety hub will show parents who is on their child’s friends list and who they are talking to, but will not allow them to access the content of their chats.
Parents will be able to confidentially report accounts they are concerned about to the tech company’s safety team.
Snapchat said: “Family Centre is designed to reflect the way that parents engage with their teens in the real world, where parents usually know who their teens' friends are and when they are hanging out – but don’t eavesdrop on their private conversations."
The company said the new feature would protect “a teenager’s autonomy and privacy”, while boosting safeguards.
Snapchat joins a raft of technology companies adding children’s safety features amid pressure from governments around the world to increase protections for children online.
Instagram, the photo-sharing app owned by Meta, signed a deal last month with UK tech start-up Yoti to add age verification technology. If a user on the app attempts to change their age from under 18 to over 18, Instagram will ask them to upload a form of ID and take a video selfie to verify their age.
After the verification process, the tech company said the selfies would be deleted and any ID data would also be wiped after 30 days.
Smartphone makers, meanwhile, have included tools that allow parents to limit a children’s screen time on their phones.
The Government is in the final stages of an Online Safety Bill which would force technology companies to protect underage users from harmful or explicit content on social media. Technology companies face fines of billions of pounds for failing to comply.
The UK has also introduced an Age Appropriate Design Code, which requires technology companies to build their apps in a way that puts children’s safety first.