Snapchat found itself in the middle of a controversy after parents were upset over the new “Cosmo After Dark” Snapchat channel. The Cosmo channel from Cosmopolitan magazine featured adult themed content that was easily accessible to any underage Snapchat user.
The social app has deleted the channel from its Snapchat Discover Platform after the outcry, but there is still plenty of adult themed content available for underage users to view.
I’m not a big user of Snapchat, but I will occasionally log on and browse the app to see what content is available on the site. Long before the Cosmo After Dark controversy, I’ve notice questionable content on the app.
There is almost an endless supply of content on the Snapchat Discover channels tab. This afternoon, I opened the app to browse what some of the branded content available was and while some is harmless, like ESPN or The Wall Street Journal, there are some brands that have been producing questionable content for the Snapchat audience for years.
Just some of the brands that contain content that is sometimes unsuitable for an underage audience include Vice, Cosmopolitan (Yes, Cosmo After Dark is gone, but their main channel is still active), and GQ. The lead story on the GQ channel was titled “How to tell someone you ONLY wanna hook up.” Definitely not PG rated content.
This mature content is open and available for almost any minor to see, which is why Snapchat and other social networks need to put more safe guards in place to protect children from this mature content. There is no way to verify ages on Snapchat. All a 13 year has to do is pick a random birth year at signup. This needs to change.
Of course, parents need to be more involved and monitor their kid’s online activity, but Silicon Valley needs to do a better job protecting children from mature content by making it more difficult for them to access this content on their apps.
If the federal government wants to regulate the tech titans like Facebook, they should start by passing legislation that will hold them more accountable for the adult themed content that is just a Snap away from children.
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