A parent’s guide to talking about Snapchat | Media Pyro

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Snapchat is one of the most popular social media apps for teenagers (my kids too). Over the past few years, Snapchat has become a staple on a teenager’s phone, thanks to easy one-on-one messaging and friends’ stories. The app developer has also released some new parental control features and has contributed to this article to help us explain some of them. So, if your teen uses Snapchat, this guide will help you discuss some safe strategies while Snapchatting.

What is Snapchat and why is it so popular with kids?

According to the company, “Snapchat is a visual messaging app that enhances your relationships with friends, family and the world. [Snap] believes that the camera offers the best opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate. Snapchat gives people the opportunity to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world and have fun together.”

While some social media platforms have a news feed, the option to create followers, and track likes and video views, Snapchat focuses on sharing one-on-one conversations with friends.

Teens can communicate one-on-one with friends by sending pictures and stories. Snapshots are images or videos. A collection of these images and videos is called a Story. Snapchat also allows users to add augmented reality (AR) lenses and other processing to images, allowing for quick and easy visual expression.

Snapchat messages are designed in such a way that most messages are automatically deleted after a short period of time. For example, Snapchat’s servers automatically delete snaps after they’ve been viewed by all recipients; One-on-one chats are deleted 24 hours after they are viewed. Messages sent in a group chat are automatically deleted one day after everyone has viewed them. These default removal rules help keep images from spreading and going viral, though Snapchat offers a way to keep them safe.

How does Snapchat work?

Snapchat opens directly to the camera, not the content feed. Additional features you need to know about:

Cell– Create a Snapshot, Story or Spotlight. Tap the shutter button to take a photo or hold it to record a video. Teens can then add text to the image, draw on it using the pencil icon, or add music using the musical note icon and several other editing options.

Chat— To the left of the camera shutter button is the chat screen, where users of the app can send direct messages to other Snapchat users.

Snap Map– Further to the left of the chat screen is the Snap Map, a personalized map that lets you explore places and events near the app user and see what friends are up to if they choose to share their location with you. By default, sending geodata is turned off for all Snapchat users. They have the option to choose to share it on the map with their friends, but not with anyone not listed as a friend.

Chat— A private messenger for sending direct messages to other Snapchatters.

Discover for yourself– Tap the people icon to the right of the camera to explore content from verified Snapchat publishers and creators. Snapchat doesn’t offer an open news feed.

story—These are short images or video clips. They disappear 24 hours after they are shared.

Searchlight—This new addition to Snapchat features short videos with popular audio and can be dances or other types of short content. Snapchat also manually reviews these videos before they reach 25 views to make sure they’re compatible with the platform.

Augmented reality lenses— To use interesting AR lenses, like turning your face into a puppy, scroll through the lens carousel to the right of the shutter button. Swipe through the options here to view the capabilities of different lenses.

Is there an age limit for Snapchat?

Snapchat’s rules state that “no one under the age of 13 is allowed to create an account or use Snapchat.” There are also additional safety features for under 18s. For example, no one under the age of 18 can have a public profile.

Is Snapchat Safe for Teens?

Snapchat has taken many steps to create a safe experience for all participants, as well as creating additional safeguards, particularly for teenagers. They also introduced an in-app tool called Family Center. This tool helps parents better understand who their teens are friends with on Snapchat and who they’re messaging, while respecting teens’ privacy and autonomy. You know your child best, so download the app and use it for about a week to see how it works and what content you see. By evaluating it yourself, you can better determine if the app is right for your child.

You can also check out Snapchat’s new Parent Guide to learn more about how the app has added new features to make it safer for teens.

What parents should know about Snapchat

Snapchat usually deletes images shortly after they have been viewed by the recipient. But it does allow you to save images, and it’s important for teens to understand this to avoid sending inappropriate images. So it’s also important to talk to kids about protecting their privacy online and not sharing things they don’t want to be made public, even if it’s between friends.

Snapchat messages are also deleted immediately after the recipient opens them, or 24 hours after a sent message is not opened. This means parents can’t see what images kids share with each other, but parents can see who their kids are talking to. From Snapchat’s perspective, their goal is to give parents more insight into who their teens are talking to without infringing on their teens’ privacy.

It’s also worth noting that kids with Snapchat accounts can view content from people they don’t follow, so it’s important to talk to your child about what’s okay and what’s not.

How to Use Snapchat Parental Controls

Snapchat’s recently released in-app tool, Family Center, was created while working with families and online safety experts to develop these features.

About parental control:

  • You can see which Snapchat friends your teen has sent messages, photos, or videos to in the past seven days, in a way that still protects your teen’s privacy without revealing the actual content of their conversations.

  • You can see a complete list of their teens’ available friends. The new feature will also allow parents to easily view the new friends your teens have added, making it easier to discuss their new connections.

  • Easily and confidentially report any accounts of parental concern directly to the 24/7 trust and safety teams for investigation.

  • Access key explanations for using these tools; resources for starting an important conversation with teenagers; and more tips for using Snapchat safely.

  • Teens who choose Family Center will also be able to see what their parents see in mirrored features.

You can see who your teen is friends with on Snapchat and who they’ve been messaging. Parents can also report any inappropriate behavior such as bullying or harassment. It does not track content and does not allow you to approve contacts.

  • You need your own Snapchat account to set up these controls.

  • In the app, tap the magnifying glass icon at the top of the screen and type Family Center. The “Family Center” option will appear. Tap it and select your child from the friends list.

  • If they are not listed, search for their username in the corresponding field.

  • After selecting your child’s account, click Send Invitation. Your child will receive a notification on Snapchat that they need to approve the invitation to Family Center.

When they accept the invitation, your teen’s profile will appear in Family Center and you can click View Friends.

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