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Snapchat, an auto-deleting photo and video sharing app, created a new version of the app for children under the age of 13 called SnapKidz.

Snapchat allows users to share photos for 10 seconds or less, after which the photos self-delete. The app launched in September 2011 and is growing in popularity, with up to 1,000 photos sent per second, according to Today.com.

SnapKidz also allows users to take a picture, add a caption and draw on the image, but it has one major distinction from the original: SnapKidz users cannot send or receive snaps.

“We’re … trying out something new in this release. As you may know, Snapchat is for teens and adults — children under the age of 13 are not allowed to create accounts. The previous iOS update introduced age-gating … but it didn’t provide a very good experience,” it reads on the Snapchat blog. “In the new iOS version, kids under the age of 13 are able to fill out the registration form. … We’re trying it out first on iOS and if all goes well, we hope to include it in an upcoming Android update.”

Forbes.com raised concerns about how children under 13 could still use SnapKidz like the original Snapchat. The site pointed out that the pictures on SnapKidz are saved on the device, and can still be sent as text or email images. Forbes.com also said kids could lie about their age to sign up for Snapchat, or similarly delete the SnapKidz version of the app and install Snapchat by providing a false birth year.

Many parents have concerns about how their teens use Snapchat.

“Like any photo-sharing service — Snapchat can be used for sexting, harassment, or worse,” it reads on ConnectSafely.org. “It can be particularly sad and hurtful if that happens, because Snapchat is typically used among friends.”



Abby Stevens is an intern for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact her at astevens@deseretdigital.com.
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