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Snapchat debuts new feature for the 13 and under crowd

SnapKidz lets pre-teens caption, draw and save pictures, but not send or receive any snaps

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
June 24, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/303e

It's been a big day in Snapchat news!

First the photo-sharing app revealed new funding, a new board member and updated stats. Now the company is also announcing  that it has updated its iOS app to include an important new feature, which will allows users under the age of 13 to use Snapchat.

Snapchat is a messenger service that allows users to control how long their friends can view a message before it self-destructs, or deletes itself from the phones of both the sender and receiver. The message is also deleted from Snapchat’s server. While there is the possibility for a screenshot to be taken, the sender will be notified if this happens. It was previously only available to users above the age of 13. Now, those under the age of 13 can fill out a registration form, but their information is not sent to Snapchat, nor is an account created.

Instead they are able to use something called SnapKidz, which lets them take pictures, caption, draw and saving them, but does not let them send or receive any pictures. Nor can they add any friends.

"The previous iOS update introduced age-gating, in which we asked people their age on the registration screen and didn’t allow them to proceed if the age entered was under 13. This was a pretty standard way of handling things, but it didn’t provide a very good experience," Snapchat wrote about why it chose to introduce this feature.

Snapchat says that it is trying the idea out on iOS, and may add it to the Android app as well in the future.

So why restrict the useage of those under 13?

Well, frankly, the Pacific Palisades, California-based company, which was founded in 2011, has been accused by some of being a “sexting” app, allowing people to sending each other naked pictures of themselves while not having to worry that they will be saved and shared with other people.

The last thing that Snapchat wants, I'm sure, is to get anywhere near the idea of pre-teens using the app for those purposes. And this was their best chance to expand their userbase without subjecting themselves to any bad press.

Other Snapchat news

Earlier today Snapchat announced that raised $60 million in a Series B round led by IVP, with help from General Catalyst, Benchmark Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and SV Angel. It was also announced that it was adding Sony CEO Michael Lynton as an independent board member.

In addition, the company also revealed that its users are now sharing over 200 million images via Snapchat per day, up from 150 million just two months ago.

(Image source: http://noahsdad.com)


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