Is Snapchat safe for kids? There is a lot of debate surrounding whether or not Snapchat is safe for kids. On the one hand, the app allows for instant and brief communication, benefiting kids who are reluctant to share personal information.
On the other hand, Snapchat also has a reputation for sending inappropriate images and videos, harmful to young users. Ultimately, it is up to parents to decide whether or not they think Snapchat is safe for their kids.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a popular mobile messaging software that allows you to send “snaps” (brief text, picture, or video communications) that vanish after a few seconds. The transitory nature of snaps is part of Snapchat’s attraction for kids – it allows for informal communication without leaving a record of everything said.
To compete with other social applications, Snapchat has made significant modifications, including adding original series and new features such as Our Stories, where many users may all contribute to a collective tale. This revised Snapchat parent guide will assist you in keeping up with all of the changes.
Is Snapchat Safe For Kids?
Some Snapchat features, such as the Snap Map, where users may broadcast their whereabouts, may concern parents. Because of Snapchat’s emphasis on transience, your youngster may feel safer sharing private material, unaware that improper Snapchat photographs and other information may still be screenshotted, stored, and posted on public social networks.
Another issue to be concerned about is the absence of age verification when creating an account. A youngster under 13 may lie about their age to sign up for Snapchat and join older teenagers. Snapchat used to have a distinct service called Snapchat for Kids for users under the age of 13.
However, it has since been terminated. Snapchat is only one of many factors that parents must consider while keeping their family safe online or determining how much screen time is too much for their children.
Snapchat Features And Dangers
Snapchat’s product is continually changing and adding new features. Many of Snapchat’s new features are entertaining and innocuous, but there are still certain risks.
Snap Map allows users to publish their geolocation on a real-world map, which can then be used to discover them. While this is handy for meeting up with pals, the location you’re providing is incredibly exact – even the building you’re in.
Because this location may be shared as a Story, it might reach people other than friends, potentially exposing children and teens to unsuitable Snapchat users.
Parents should discuss Snap Map with their children and encourage them to be cautious when disclosing their location online and employing safety measures such as parental control applications and Snapchat’s user settings.
Snapchat Discover exposes your children to pop culture, allowing them to stay updated on celebrities, entertainment, and news. Discover material is classified into three types:
Snapchat users at an event may upload their photos to Our Stories. These snaps are evaluated and edited by the Snapchat team before being broadcast to the public, providing an inside look at events from various views. Instagram admittedly borrowed the Story format because it was such a wonderful concept.
Publisher Stories allow companies and websites to advertise on Snapchat by promoting a new product launch, directing viewers to articles, providing news, and putting the company in direct contact with its audience.
Snap Originals are professional shows created specifically for Snapchat that include many episodes structured into seasons. The episodes are around five minutes long and are designed to be seen vertically on your phone.
These programs span several genres and include personalities such as Kevin Hart, Will Smith, and Ryan Reynolds.
Snapchat’s Spotlight function is similar to TikTok. People may use Snapchat features like filters to publish vertical video material with sound and tag it with a subject hashtag. The post will be up for 24 hours, and the more interactions it receives, the more people will see it.
Sharing material internationally may seem concerning; however, if the individual is under 18, their identity is not associated with the content (assuming they signed up with their correct birthdate).
Snapchat Stories allows users to make in-depth contributions, crafting a tale using collages of photographs, text, and videos. These Snapchat stories may be made public or shared just with friends, and they can be seen several times before disappearing 24 hours later.
Your Snapstreak is the number of days you’ve snapped with your pal in a row. When you start a Snapstreak, your discussion receives a flame emoji and a number representing the number of days the streak has lasted (visible only to the people in the conversation).
Snapstreaks has effectively gamified Snapchat discussions by leveraging social engineering to keep users interested. Snapstreaks were also discussed in an academic article on addiction, with researchers noting that some users even offer their friends their account details to keep a streak running if they cannot deliver the message.
People may speak directly with each other using Snapchat’s Chat function, much as they would with Facebook Messenger or other messaging applications. People may start a video chat, share a snap, play games, exchange images, send a Bitmoji – a customizable character — and even transfer money in addition to text messaging.
Filters And Lenses
If you’ve heard of Snapchat, you’ve undoubtedly heard of its massive collection of filters and lenses.
A Snapchat filter is a layer applied to a picture that adds various colors, messages, and graphics (sunglasses, hats, horns) on top of the original. There are several filters available, and you can even make your own. After you’ve made your snap, the filter is applied.
You may also use a Snapchat lens before capturing the photo. Snapchat lenses employ Augmented Reality (AR) to add backdrops or things to your photograph or video and, in certain cases, to modify the subject. Snapchat lenses that age the user transform them into animals, and other effects are popular.
These qualities contribute significantly to Snapchat’s popularity. Lenses and Snapchat filters for kids, such as FunCam Kids, provide a safe setting for children to experiment with AR selfies.
Snap tokens are a kind of in-app money that can be used to make microtransactions in Snapchat games. These tokens may be purchased from Snapchat and used in some Snapchat games – just another method for Snapchat to monetize its user base.
Snapchat features both single-player and multiplayer games that you can play with your friends. Your children may challenge their peers to everything from Scrabble-style word games to Fortnite-style shooters. Tennis, golf, and zombies are some of the other popular Snapchat activities. Snapchat launches multiplayer games immediately from conversations, allowing players to start playing at any moment without the need for prior planning.
Cameos is a new Snapchat feature that allows your kid to add a short video clip. Snapchat has a plethora of footage to pick from and constantly adds new ones. This film may then be utilized in seconds – multi-friend cameos are also accessible.
The Pros of Snapchat for Kids
According to Cohen, parents may be startled to learn that Snapchat is a lot more regulated environment than they may believe. Here are a few advantages of allowing your children to take pictures:
Content is more curated.
Snapchat’s Publisher material, she claims, is handpicked based on interests and is less likely to expose minors to inappropriate stuff. You may also follow Publishers, which displays the channels you want them to watch.
Photos aren’t displayed permanently.
According to Arnold, Snapchat may be safer for youngsters than other applications since it isn’t visible permanently for someone with evil intents to go and locate afterward. “It also doesn’t feel the same appetite for ‘likes’ that other social platforms do, where it’s all about showcasing the most flawless photo to earn as many ‘likes’ as possible,” she explains.
There’s less risk of messages from strangers.
Finally, you must have their contact information (phone number and username) to engage with someone. In contrast to other platforms that enable outsiders to send unwanted messages to users, Arnold says.
The Cons of Snapchat for Kids
However, like with any social platform—Facebook, Instagram, TikTok—images submitted may find up in the hands of people with malicious intent. As a result, parents must teach their children the fundamental rule of the internet: once it is transmitted, you have no control over who sees it—and anybody may spread it. Here are the most important things for parents to know:
Kids are convinced that their photos will “disappear” forever.
Ultimate urges that parents teach their children the importance of thinking before sharing. This is particularly crucial with Snapchat since photographs and videos seem to vanish after being viewed—but we all know that you can snap a screenshot of any photo, store it, and even share it later.
The “screenshot alert” is not foolproof.
Kids would claim that they will be notified by using the “alert” screenshot option if someone has taken a screenshot. However, nothing prevents a viewer from snapping a screen screenshot with another device. As a result, the instant that fades from view is now a permanent part of someone else’s picture collection, which is a concern.
Since snaps disappear, they can’t be monitored.
According to Altomare, it’s critical for parents of children under the age of 18 to recognize the risks of this function since it may be almost difficult to see what snaps are being sent or received, making it easier for inappropriate or bullying information be shared and communicated. “As a result, if you allow your children to join on this site, open communication (and supervision) is advised.”
How to Keep Your Kids Safe on Snapchat
If you decide to let your kid participate in the Snapchat fad, use it as a chance to teach them about safety and responsibility in this ever-changing virtual environment. Make it clear that you will be monitoring their account since it is your responsibility to safeguard them.
As they learn more about the platform, ask them to show you some fascinating features. According to Altomare, engaging in something that they are interested in will help maintain the lines of communication open and continue to create trust.
While most parents may find it difficult to watch since there is no feed on other social media sites, experts advise taking a different approach. “I would recommend concentrating on the privacy settings,” advises Altomare. “This is a terrific way to control exposure and guarantee that only individuals you know may view your photographs. Turning off the location view is also crucial advice for keeping you and your family secure from unwelcome in-person visits.”
Sit down with your kid and go to the app’s settings, accessible through the gear icon next to the profile picture. Scroll down to the “Who can” area and make the following privacy changes:
- Choose “My Friends” instead of “Everyone” for “Contact Me” and “View My Story.”
- Select “Ghost Mode” for “See My Location,” which will prevent anybody from knowing where your kid is (you can choose to select certain friends that they can share location with, but make sure that this option is discussed with you).
- Finally, by deselecting “Quick Add,” other app users will have to request your child’s Snapchat handle rather than discovering it immediately in lists of recommended friends. These assist to guarantee that only your children’s pals may interact with them.
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Should I let my 12-year-old have Snapchat?
The Snapchat Terms of Service state that no one under the age of 13 can use the app. However, it is exceedingly simple for youngsters to circumvent this regulation when they join up, and many younger children use the app.
Can parents monitor Snapchat?
Snapchat has parental controls that allow your kid to restrict who can view what they post on the app and who may contact them. Your youngster may also report objectionable information they observe from other app users.
What are the dangers of Snapchat?
Because Snapchat messages are transitory, some teenagers may get themselves in hot water for sending sexts or sexually suggestive photographs and text messages. Research has shown that sexting may be quite painful emotionally, particularly if the communications go awry, ending in the wrong hands.
Is Snapchat safer than Instagram?
Furthermore, Instagram enables you to block profiles and select individuals from seeing your stories. Now, the issue of whether Snapchat or Instagram is more secure and private for messaging can be safely answered: Snapchat is significantly more secure and private for texting.
Snapchat is a popular messaging app that allows users to send photos and videos that disappear after some time. The app also has several features that make it attractive to young users, including filters and lenses that can change the appearance of images and videos. Snapchat also offers a Snap Map feature that shows the location of users’ friends on a map.