What Parents Should Know About Snapchat To Keep Kids Safe

March 23, 2016
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If your child is old enough to have her own smartphone, odds are in the sea of apps is one called Snapchat.

Of course, plenty of adults use Snapchat, too. But it’s especially popular among younger users. But what is it, anyway?

This mobile app allows users to take and send photos and videos that disappear after just a few seconds. When a user is preparing to send a message to someone, they decide if it will be available for viewing for between 1 and 10 seconds. Other fun features include filters, adding text and graphics to an image and more.

In a nutshell, Snapchat allows kids to send friends what’s happening in the moment without the permanency that comes with traditional social media sites.

The thing is, nothing digital is truly gone. With both Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems, screen capture is possible. It’s also possible to take a photo of a Snapchat message with someone else’s phone or camera. And if someone is really tech-savvy, expired Snapchat photos have successfully been “undeleted,” according to ForbesSo although the photos on Snapchat may seem temporary, it’s important to teach kids to never send a picture that they wouldn’t want others aside from the intended recipient to see. 

With the limited window of accessing the messages in Snapchat, some parents might be concerned about the possibility of teens using it for sexting, or sending nude photos. This is certainly possible for anyone to do, but the vast majority of users, according to Snapchat — teen or not — use it because it’s fun, and not for sexting.

Here are a few tidbits of advice for parents keep in mind, straight from Snapchat’s safety tips and resources:

  • Snapchat is not intended for users younger than age 13. When setting up the account, in fact, if a user won’t be able to continue if he enters a birth date that puts him under the age of 13.
  • As with any form of social media or messaging service, it’s important to be kind and respectful. Remind your child to think about the images before sending them and don’t send things their contacts don’t want to receive.
  • Again, remember that Snaps can be permanent through screenshots and other cameras.
  • Be sure to have kids check the privacy settings to select who can send Snaps to them and who can view their Stories.
  • If your child experiences harassment or bullying, make sure they know to block the person and report it.
  • Remind your child to keep their password safe and to never share their password with other people, applications or websites.

For more information, see A Parents’ Guide to Snapchat.

RELATED: 10 Steps For Parents To Help Kids Reduce Internet Usage

One Comment

  1. JR

    June 3, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    I do IT for living, I have learned that few parents want to be bother with how their children use technology. It seems that they relay babysitting to technology, and forget about the dangers that are present today. A while ago, while recovering a laptop for client, I found porn pictures as I was performing data recovery. Little did I know later on, that the girl in the picture was a 12 year child, performing acts deemed for an adult. That has not been the only case, phones, laptops, tablets, they are all conduits which can lead to a child’s demise. Parents, please take the threat seriously and don’t neglect your child to technology.

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