Published on June 29th, 2021
Have you ever seen a picture of your kids with a dog’s face or with the Eiffel Tower in Paris as the backdrop? Your kids must have taken these photos on Snapchat.
Snapchat is a wildly popular messaging app that allows users to take snaps ( photos and short video clips) and share the photographs with their friends. A fun fact about Snapchat is that your images disappear automatically once the receiver looks at them.
Teenagers are wildly fond of Snapchat. In the United States alone, 69% of teens use Snapchat.
There are 2,083,333 snapshots sent every minute. There are more than 10B daily views on Snapchat videos. I was surprised to see these numbers. Is Snapchat safe? Should your children use it?
Pros Of Snapchat For Your Children
First, let’s take a look at some reasons to let your kid get Snapchat.
Unlike in other social media platforms, the content your kids are watching is appropriately organized. So probably, your kids will not see contents that they should not see.
Here’s another thing about Snapchat that parents might not be aware of until now. The content that your kids share on Snapchat disappears after a specific time limit.
How is this beneficial? Once the contents have disappeared, predators with bad intentions cannot find them. As a result, you can minimize the likelihood of bullies misusing your child’s photos and video.
Additionally, Snapchat is only available to people who know your child’s mobile number and other personal information.
Limiting personal information on the internet keeps your kids at a distance from the risks of getting unsolicited messages from strangers.
Cons Of Snapchat For Your Children
Snapchat might seem utterly safe for your kids, but you may be mistaken. Here is why:
The viewers can screenshot and keep the photos your kid post on Snapchat.
Kids who use Snapchat for long periods are more likely to become addicted to it. So instead of forming relationships online, you should encourage your children to socialize in person.
My daughter should limit the number of snaps she posts on Snapchat. But whenever I try to have a conversation with her, she says, “Snapchat is safe for 14-year-olds, mom. I’ve seen all my friends using it.”
Every time she snaps, I warn her, “What if someone screenshots your photos and posts them elsewhere to ridicule you? It’s all right, Momma! Just take it easy! If someone screenshots my snaps, I’ll receive an alert via screenshot alert in Snapchat.
Parents, did you know there is this function called “screenshot alert” on Snapchat? At least, I didn’t. But, nothing can prevent the viewers from taking screenshots. What if…? I am still concerned, but my girl is stubborn.
One of the issues with kids using Snapchat is your kid can post without worrying about parents and elders seeing his/her posts. Why? Because snaps disappear on Snapchat.
Snapchat allows anyone with your child’s phone number to track their actual location. As a result, the kids will be vulnerable to bullying and other threats.
Is there anything a parent can do to protect kids from harm caused by location sharing? First, ask your kids to change their Snapchat’s location-sharing to “Ghost Mode.” By doing so, no one can access your kid’s location.
For parents whose children are in their teens, I have a suggestion. Please monitor the online activities of your kids.
Watching their screen see what they post on Snapchat is the only way to keep them from posting, sending, receiving, or viewing inappropriate content.
5 Reasons Why Your Kid Does Not Need Snapchat Account?
1. Snapchat, The Sexting App
Snapchat, when introduced in the market, became popular as the ‘sexting app’ amongst teenagers. Snapchat is secure; the photos and messages you share on Snapchat vanish after the receiver opens them.
This sense of false security might encourage your kids to share inappropriate images and messages with friends and strangers via Snapchat.
Also, Snapchat allows users to save pictures and videos in the “my eyes only” setting. Your kids can click pictures and keep them password protected.
Keeping private photos hidden in their app might encourage kids to take eye-catching images and videos without their parents’ consent.
There is a high chance that the kids will share the inappropriate contents with their boyfriend or girlfriend or with some strangers with who they become friends.
2. Snap Streaks: Snapchat Addiction
The internet and social media account addiction rate among kids is higher. As a result, snap streaks can quickly become addictive to kids of all ages.
A snap streak shows how two friends on Snapchat communicate with each other daily. The Snapchat streak is a way to make users habitual to the app.
Snap streaks are an excellent way to figure out if your child is addicted to Snapchat. Kids these days say, “You are my best friend. However, once a streak breaks, there is no longer friendship.”
Kids cannot tell if their habits are wrong or not. Using social media platforms excessively when a child’s brain is still developing can lead to addiction. When they are addicted, their only hobbies become streaks and scores on Snapchat.
3. Discover: A Feature That Offers Wide Range of Inappropriate Content
Snapchat users can find news outlets in the discover section. However, if a child swipes left on the screen and opens the “discover” section, they might find highly inappropriate content. Snapchat’s Discover section is full of violent and adult content.
If your 14-year-old is using Snapchat, he may see headings like “Blowjob questions and answers.” Your child may scroll through adult content daily.
Kids are also more likely to see or read celebrity gossip containing violence and sexual language. It is bad for your kid’s brain when your kid learns about adult content at a young age.
4. Selfishness In Kids: Anxiety and Depression
Kids don’t want to be odd in the crowd. Children who are different (eg. different race, poor communicating skills, dark-skinned, of the third gender,…) are the ones subjected to harassment like bullying.
Thus, to fit in, kids go through behavioral changes, including physical, social, and psychological. As a result, kids become highly selfish and grab everyone’s attention with their behavior and actions.
It can be a frightening thought if your kid suffers depression or anxiety because of an app on their phone. But, addiction is a serious matter; especially when your kids are in their teens, they tend to grow strange habits.
In addition to this, kids suffer from threats and harassment on Snapchat. So, in the long term, those who keep their sufferings to themselves might develop depression.
5. Online Predators: Bullying And Exclusivism
Kids use Snapchat all on their own. There is a possibility that the kids are posting a Snapchat photo that will put them at risk for bullying.
Friendships with strangers and exchanging personal information can expose kids to cyber predators. So, you are exposing your children to online harassment and threats by letting them use Snapchat.
Generally, kids don’t tell their parents about being the victim. As a result, parents won’t know what their kids are going through or if anyone is harming them.
Therefore, please do not allow your kids to surf the internet on their own to prevent cyber threats. Instead, keep an eye on their online activities from time to time.
What Can Parents Do To Safeguard Their Kids From The Dangers Of Snapchat?
- Adjust the privacy settings in your kid’s Snapchat account. Change the visibility to friends only.
- Be transparent to your kids. Start open communication with them. It would be beneficial if you established trust with them so that they can share everything with you.
- Turn off the Snapchat Location feature. Changing the location settings to private will keep your kids away from unwanted in-person visitors.
- Sit with your kid and remove, report, and block the spam on Snapchat. Remove them from your friend’s list. The anonymous user can hurt the kids by sending wrong messages, misusing the snaps of your kids’ posts on the app, and harassing your kids.
Snapchat is a fun app to use. If your kid is under 18, I recommend you don’t let them use the app. Snapchat addiction is a common and serious problem among kids.
In addition, Snapchat’s shared content is hidden from you since the app erases it after sharing. Say no to Snapchat unless your child is 18. Keeping Snapchat out of your home keeps your kids away from inappropriate content on Snapchat.