Oh Snap

Snapchat Releases a Useless Version of Its App Just for Tweens, and It’s Called Snapkidz

What are these tweens doing with smartphones?
And that's all they can do.

And that’s all they can do.

In what’s presumably an attempt to bat away fears that Snapchat is an NSFL app environment, the company released a tween-targeted version Sunday, dubbed Snapkidz. It’s sort of like Snapchat, but it’s completely useless in that under 13-year-olds can’t receive or send photos to Ashley, Ashleigh, and Ashlee, but rather scribble on pictures and just save them to their phones.

After Snapchat is downloaded, it’ll ask for the user’s age. If they’re under 13, they will be kicked to Snapkidz, a minimalistic version of the app. Their user information won’t be saved or uploaded to Snapchat’s servers.

As a post on the app’s blog explains, Snapkidz is providing an alternative experience rather than kicking under 13-year-olds out like they’ve done in the past.

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.

This all sounds like a valiant attempt to better the lives of tweens everywhere, but they’re forgetting how crafty that age group can be. One easy workaround is just to lie about their age, which is an engrained behavior that’s been getting them into R-rated movies for years. Also, they can still share those photos via email or text, so.

But, hey, as of Sunday, the app now has an excuse to exonerate itself from being labeled as an unsafe environment.

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com