Snapchat and UAE Ministry launch new parental control feature

  • Launch ceremony saw the signing of the first Emirati family who will use the new feature
  • Future aims to improve digital well-being and provide a safe environment for children

ABU DHABI: Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al-Nahyan attended the launch of the Family Center, a new parental control feature within Snapchat. 

The new feature was developed in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Possibilities and Snap Inc. It aims to support the UAE’s efforts to improve digital well-being and provide a safe environment, particularly for children. 

Family Center gives parents and guardians control over their children’s internet activities, allowing them to view the people with whom they communicate without viewing the content of the conversations in order to protect children’s privacy. 

This feature also allows parents to report any abusive or suspicious accounts directly to Snap’s Trust and Safety Team. Snap has also launched new tools to promote open and constructive online conversations. 

Along with Sheikh Saif, the launch ceremony was attended by Minister of State for Government Development and the Future Ohood bint Khalfan Al-Roumi, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence Omar bin Sultan Al-Olama, Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs Abdulla Nasser Lootah, Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs Huda Al-Hashimi, UAE Government Media Office Chairman Saeed Mohammad Al-Eter and representatives from Snapchat.

The ceremony saw the signing of the first Emirati family who will use the new feature. 

Snap has already reached out to families to identify the needs of parents and their children, as well as to hear their perspectives on parenting standards and privacy, which differ from person to person. The company also consulted with online safety and security experts to get their feedback on the new Family Center feature. 

By developing the new feature, Snap aimed to introduce tools specifically designed to reflect human behavior and increase trust and cooperation between parents and their children.

The Ministry of Possibilities confirmed that the collaboration with Snap in launching the Family Center feature reflects the UAE government’s commitment to providing its citizens and residents with all the necessary tools to ensure their safety, protect their privacy on the internet and boost their confidence. This feature would reinforce the ministry’s commitment to increasing the level of protection when using social media platforms. 

“With the launch of Family Center, we add new levels of safety and new communication avenues for families to discuss online threats. We are confident that Family Center will become the new benchmark for online safety,” Georg Wolfart, head of public policy at Snap Inc., said.

Family Center enhances existing safeguards that are specifically designed with children in mind. By default, children must be mutual friends before they can start communicating with each other. In addition, friend lists are private, and children are not permitted to have public profiles. Other safeguards make it more difficult for strangers to locate children. The app’s friend lists are private, and children cannot have open public accounts.

In the coming months, Snap plans to add more safety features to Family Center, such as new content controls for parents and the ability for their children to notify them when they report an account or a piece of content to Snap’s Trust and Safety team. A feature that will allow parents to see new friends that their children have added will also be available soon.