During today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on kids’ online safety, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel shared that 20 million teenagers use Snapchat in the United States and that around 200,000 parents use its Family Center supervision controls. He also shared that approximately 400,000 teen accounts have been linked to a parent’s account through Family Center. Spiegel’s testimony marks the first time that Snap has shared real-world metrics regarding the usage of Snapchat’s parental controls.
Snapchat’s Family Center, which allows parents to see who their teens are friends with on the app and who they have been communicating with, first launched in 2022.
Spiegel shared the numbers after Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif) asked the CEO’s of Snap, Meta, TikTok, X and Discord to disclose how many minors were using their platforms and how many parents were using parental supervision controls offered by the services.
“We create a banner for Family Center on the user’s profiles,” Spiegel said after being asked what Snapchat was doing to ensure parents and guardians are aware of the tools. “So the accounts we believe may be the age that they can be parents can see the entry point into Family Center easily.”
Snap introduced the parental controls in response to increased pressure on social networks to better protect minor users from harm. Snapchat’s roll out of Family Center followed the the launches of similar parental control features across other apps, including Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.
Spiegel was the only CEO to share numbers in response to Senator Padilla’s question.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was unable to provide specific numbers, but said that the company runs “extensive ad campaigns” both on its platform and outside to raise awareness of its parental supervision tools.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino shared that less than 1% of the platform’s 90 million U.S. users are between the ages of 13 and 17, and that the company is discussing parental controls.
“Being a 14 month old company we have reprioritized child protection and safety measures,” Yaccarino said. “We have just begun to talk about and discuss how we can enhance those with parental controls.”
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said he was unable to share specifics, but that TikTok was “one of the first platforms” to give parents supervision controls. Discord CEO Jason Citron said that Discord raises awareness of its parental controls through promotional videos and in-app prompts.