Age Gating Social Media – What does it mean for young people?

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Last week SnapChat updated its guidelines on its Discover pages, meaning publishers can now “age-gate” any content for SnapChatters aged 18 and over.  Similar to features already embedded in YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, this will block the content for any SnapChatter under the age of 18, so they can’t view it.

While SnapChat is an app intended for young people aged 13 and above, it is very popular with younger users too. Although this is not their sole intention, it is great to see Snapchat taking steps to protect and shield younger users from inappropriate content.  

It’s worth remembering however that this will only work if the user has initially entered their correct date of birth (D.O.B.).  As yet there is no fool proof way to verify age on social media, and it is possible for a 12 year old to enter age details of someone much older, therefore stripping away that added layer of protection.

It would be good to know how SnapChat will  classify the material, as when I opened my “Discover” page this morning I was greeted with a Daily Mail article about Kylie Jenner’s bum ( I’m sure that’s not what the article is about, but  that’s the picture they have chosen to go with it).

Would this be considered inappropriate? It would be a crying shame if articles like this are considered acceptable, but informative articles from the likes of Vice get filtered out because they contain the word “drugs”. Only time will tell and we will update you when we know more!

Overall it’s fantastic to see SnapChat taking a positive step forward in their responsibility to shield younger users from unsuitable content, but as we mentioned in this blog, parents have a key role to play in keeping young people safe online.

To find out more about SnapChat, we helped produce this handy checklist which is free to download.

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