June 24, 2013 at 12:45 PM ET
Though Snapchat is a hit with the teens, kids under 13 were previously turned away upon signup. Now the youngsters can finally use the app — to take photos and videos and then add captions and doodles to them — but they don't get the ability to actually send anything. If that's not bad enough for the youngsters, this crippled version of the software even comes with an infantile name: SnapKidz.
"We’re trying it out first on iOS and if all goes well, we hope to include it in an upcoming Android update," the Snapchat team wrote in a blog post, announcing the arrival of the glorified drawing mode, along with some critical bug fixes. Snapchat's motivations behind SnapKidz don't seem to involve padding user statistics — since the experience is local to a user's device, no actual Snapchat account is created.
Will this change make parents sweat a bit less if they spot the Snapchat app on their kids' mobile devices? Probably not. After all, it's not exactly that difficult for someone under the age of 13 to fib a bit about his or her age in order to gain access to all of Snapchat's features. A survey in 2011 found that over 7.5 million kids lied about their age to access Facebook, for example. Why would that behavior be different for Snapchat?
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