Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social media apps out there with 180 million. The platform is most widely used by teens and young adults to share everyday moments (pictures and short videos) while simultaneously making them look awesome. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which records and broadcast everything you do, Snapchat uses messages that are meant to disappear. The platform has also been under scrutiny due to numerous security and privacy concerns. So, it’s a good idea to understand how Snapchat parental control works, how your kids use it and how much time they spend on it.
The Reasons Why Snapchat Parental Control is a Must
1. Messages Disappear after a Certain Amount of Time
This is one of the biggest draws of Snapchat. The individual snaps disappear immediately after viewing and Stories your kids share disappear after 24 hours. This gives users a feeling of freedom and the idea that posts they create aren’t permanent, or they can get away with posting hurtful or inappropriate content without consequences. This is a feature that is commonly abused as recipients can take a screenshot or record memes and what you post can come back to haunt you.
2. Lead to Feelings of Pressure, Anxiety, and Compulsion
Another feature known as Snapstreaks is widely used by teens to share photos with their friends. The streak is established when two users have snapped back and forth 3 days in a row. Why do they matter? For one, they add to users’ overall Snapchat score and another reason is that kids form an intense bond with the friends and feel that a Snapstreak is a measure of their friendship, and if they don’t keep it up, they’ll let the other person down. Teens have been known to give friends access to their Snapchat accounts to keep a streak going if they can’t do it themselves (if a phone gets taken away for being online too much). This leads to feelings of pressure, anxiety, and compulsion, so it’s good to know if your kid has streaks going.
3. Location Can be Seen by All Friends
Snapchat has a Snap Map that displays the location of the user in real-time. Only Snapchat friends can see where you are. Snap Map also shows news and events from around the world. The biggest risk with Snap Map is a teen having their location seen by all their friends since some of their Snapchat friends may not be real. Unless there’s a specific event and it makes it easier for friends to know each other’s location, it’s best to leave Snap Map off or use it in Ghost Mode.
4. Full of Inappropriate Content
Snapchat has a Discover section that offers a gallery of content that users can interact with. These range from brand advertisements and online publications to posts from some Snapchat popular users. The content offered here is frequently mature and if your kid has signed up using the incorrect birth date, they can see alcohol ads and other adult content. Discover stories feature promos prompt kids to swipe up to know more or take a quiz. This section runs the gamut from harmless to shocking. So, it’s good to look at what your kids are seeing.
There are various other features as well that can jeopardize your child’s privacy and safety, so Snapchat has in-built parental controls feature that helps give your child control over who can see the content and who can contact them.
How to Use Snapchat Parental Control
You can follow the steps below to use the built-in Snapchat parental control:
Open the profile page in Snapchat, tap on the gear icon, tap on the Contact me and make sure My Friends is selected. Go to Who Can Section, tap on View My Story and select My Friends. With this only friends can see your child’s snaps.
Uncheck the Quick Add option as this feature suggests your child as a friend to other users.
Prevent friends from being able to see your child’s location by clicking on See My Location and then make sure Ghost Mode is checked.
Stop people from finding your child’s Snapchat profile using the phone number. Open profile page, tap gear icon, tap on Mobile Number and uncheck let others find me using my mobile number.
If your child’s settings are set to My Friends but they are still receiving abusive Snaps then you can:
- Block another user – you can easily block or remove friends from your friend’s list. Just swipe right to go to the Friends Screen and tap & hold on a friend’s name, then tap More and tap Block or Remove Friend.
- Report inappropriate posts – you and your child should know how to report inappropriate content on Snapchat. Navigate to the Report a Safety Concern tab in the menu and let the Snap Inc. know what’s going on.
- Delete the account – if you wish to delete the account with your child’s username and password then you need to submit a deletion request at: https://accounts.snapchat.com/accounts/delete_account.
Some Tips for the Kids to Use Snapchat Safely
- Treat others well in the same way as you would like to be treated.
- If you wouldn’t say anything face-to-face with the other person, don’t say it online too.
- An innocent comment can be taken the wrong way online. So if someone gets angry about something you said, don’t get angry, simply apologize.
- Don’t make fun of someone when chatting online.
- Don’t start rumors or spread gossip about someone.
- Remember that anything posted online usually can’t be deleted so don’t post any inappropriate things.
- Respect other people’s privacy.
The best way to help kids stay safe on Snapchat depends on how it is used. It is important to talk to kids about being thoughtful while using it and remind your kids that they should speak to you when they see something that concerns them and avoids meeting up with strangers. As parents, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open, the use of Snapchat parental control and work together to figure out what’s appropriate.