Snapchat Gives Parents Control over AI Chatbot for Teens

Worried about your teen’s conversations with ChatGPT’s sassy cousin? Snapchat’s got your back–kinda. Introducing a new twist on their Family Center parental controls, the platform is handing power to parents when it comes to their kids’ interactions with the app’s experimental AI chatbot, My AI.

Concerns about My AI’s influence on young minds have been swirling since its April launch. Parents questioned the potential impact of teens confiding in, and potentially being influenced by, a highly personalized AI companion. Now, they have the option to opt My AI out for their 13-17 year olds altogether. If teens try to chat with the disabled bot, they’ll simply receive a message explaining its absence.

But this isn’t just about My AI. The update broadens Snapchat’s Family Center toolkit, giving parents deeper insights into their teens’ app experience. From who their kids share Stories with to who can message them and whether they’re broadcasting their whereabouts on Snap Map, parents can now keep a closer eye on the virtual social circles their teens are navigating.

This focus on parental oversight isn’t a new trend for Snapchat. Family Center launched in 2022 amidst growing concerns about online safety for young users across all platforms. And with a looming Senate subcommittee hearing on youth safety later this month, it’s clear Snapchat is eager to showcase its proactive approach.

So, is this a mic drop moment for parental control in the social media world? Not quite. While handing parents the reins on My AI is a step in the right direction, it’s important to remember that open communication and trust remain the cornerstones of healthy online habits for teens. Ultimately, the best filter comes from within, not an app.

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