Parents who allow their children to have Snapchat need to have a serious discussion with their kids to discuss the risks associated with the false sense of security that Snapchat may provide.
Introduced in 2017, Snap Map allows users to share their location in real-time with anyone on their Snapchat friend list and see the locations of their friends who do the same. Since some of their Snapchat contacts may not be real friends, this is a big risk.
Unless there’s a specific event and it makes it easier for friends to know each other’s location, experts advise leaving Snap Map off or using it in “ghost mode,” which allows you to see the location of friends who haven’t hidden their locations.
Launched in 2015, the Discover feature allows you to see content from popular media channels-many of which offer sexually oriented content. Although Snapchat’s terms of service discourage explicit content, these channels include images posted from magazines, television stations, and other content providers that can be inappropriate for children.
A lawsuit filed in California in 2016 cited some of the offensive Snapchat Discover content including “people share their secret rules for sex” and “10 things he thinks when he can’t make you orgasm.” Not many parents would be comfortable with their tweens and teens having immediate access to articles like these. ? ?
A Snapstreak occurs when two users have snapped back and forth within a 24-hour period for three days in a row. Once this occurs, a flame emoji and a number will appear next to the streakers’ names to show how long the streak has been maintained. Maintaining streaks is very important to teens because streaks allow kids to interact socially and feel part of something many of their peers are doing.
For many kids, they’re a measure of their friendships. Experts worry, though, that the pressure of keeping a streak going-teens are often maintaining many streaks at the same time-may take a toll on kids. ? ?
It’s important to note that Snapchat does have a minimum age of 13, which is in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. When it’s downloaded, Snapchat asks for your date of birth, and-if you’re under 13-you’re redirected to the kid version, called “SnapKidz,” which is more restrictive than Snapchat (for instance, you can’t add friends or share anything).
It’s not uncommon for underage kids to find a workaround (that is, using a fake birthdate) so they can open an account.
A Word From Verywell
Snapchat can be a fun and engaging app when used appropriately, carefully, and with very specific ground rules-or not used at all. Apps like Snapchat remind parents that they need to be vigilant about their children’s smartphone use and to monitor their activity to prevent problems like sexting, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, or other elements of the dark side of smartphone use by children.
Wayne’s background in life coaching along with his work helping organizations to build family-friendly policies, gives him a unique perspective on fathering.
Snapchat is an application for mobile devices that allows users to send photos and videos (called snaps) to other users. However, unlike with photos or videos sent via text or email, those sent on Snapchat disappear seconds after they’re viewed-the sender gets to decide how long a photo will “live,” from one to 10 seconds, after it’s viewed.
The idea of Snapchat is that users can send time-limited photos that might be embarrassing or just silly without a significant fear that it will find its way to other social media sites where it might live forever.