Adults Attempting To Connect With Minors On Snapchat Are Now Subject To New Restrictions
Snapchat is enacting new limits to prevent adults from sending messages to children under the age of 18 in the app, following Instagram's lead last year. According to Axios, Snapchat is modifying its "Quick Add" buddy suggestion process to make it impossible to add anyone under the age of 18 "unless the two users have a particular number of friends in common." This won't prevent such connections, but it will add another barrier to the process, potentially reducing harm.
The decision is a natural and welcome step that will help strengthen the app's security for youngsters, but the impact on Snap, which is mostly used by youngsters, might be significantly more substantial. Indeed, Snapchat estimated last year that about 20% of its entire user base was under the age of 18, with the majority of its viewership falling between the ages of 13 and 24. As a result, interaction across these age groups is likely a key part of the Snap experience, and limiting it could have a big impact on overall usage, even if it does provide more security for children.
This is why Snap has made such a strong commitment – but it is worth emphasizing that Snapchat will not prevent older users from connecting with younger ones on the app; it will simply make it more difficult through early recommendations and the Quick Add tool. As a result, there isn't a significant difference. However, considering the app's interplay across different age groups, this is a sign of Snap's dedication to safety and developing innovative ways to ensure that children are not exposed to potential danger.
On this front, Snapchat has had some difficulties, with the app's ephemeral nature offering fertile ground for predators by automatically erasing any evidentiary trail. With that in mind, Snap still has a long way to go in terms of security, but it's encouraging to see the company exploring measures to limit such interactions and prevent potentially damaging usage.