Besides being fun to use, Snapchat also has a dark side. Not infrequently we often hear the news of bad people who use the Snapchat app to commit a crime. To prevent bad things from happening to your family, especially your teenage children, let’s find out more about how to stay safe using Snapchat for teenagers.
Snapchat is an application for smartphones (Android and iPhone) which was developed by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown in 2011. The app allows its users to send media in the form of photos or short videos to other users. What makes Snapchat different is that the content sent will disappear by itself after a while. The features that characterize Snapchat and are also an attraction for new users are then exploited by bad guys.
Snapchat is currently a popular application among teenagers. According to a report by eMarketer, Snapchat is the top social media app for American teens. Snapchat beat Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter by a large margin in terms of teen usage.
Snapchat’s success in attracting young users is related to something new that is offered by Snapchat. In addition to being a pioneer in self-destroyed messages, Snapchat is also a pioneer in presenting Augmented Reality technology through filters and interactive lenses. Notably, Snapchat had Stories before Instagram and Facebook. In fact, Snapchat had Stories before it was cool.
What you can do using Snapchat
To use Snapchat, you need a smartphone, whether it’s an Android or an iPhone. After downloading and installing Snapchat, you must register (using an email and phone number) and set a password. The app will then access the phonebook on your smartphone to find out who from your contact list has also registered to Snapchat, this can help you to add friends on Snapchat. Our advice, only adds friends on Snapchat that you really know in real life, avoid adding friends that you don’t know before in real life, because there may be those who use fake accounts to trap teenagers.
Sending a Snap
After you log in, you can take a photo or short video, edit it, add a caption, put some filters or lenses, doodles, etc. After touching up your picture or video, you can send it to your friend as a snap message and set it to disappear in 1 to 10 seconds. After the snap is sent, the receiver has the time set by the timer after they access the app to look at the photo before the message “self-destructs.” Friends can then take their own photos to reply or just send a message back.
Besides sending snaps to friends, you can also publish your snaps as Stories. The content will be published publicly, this means all your friends can see it for 24 hours unless you take it down. Once again, Snapchat was a pioneer in this Stories thing before it was plagiarized by Instagram, Facebook, and Whatsapp.
Take responsibility for what you share on Snapchat, avoid sharing sensitive content such as bullying, racism, threats to someone, or things that are too personal (protect your privacy). Our point is, use Snapchat just for fun.
This feature allows Snapchat users to share their live location with their friends on Snapchat who also do the same thing. This feature must be considered by parents because not all friends on the friends’ list are real friends in real life. Our advice, for security and privacy, turn Snap Map off or use it in “ghost mode,” which allows you to see the location of friends who haven’t hidden their locations.
This feature allows Snapchat users to view content from popular media channels. The problem is, many publishers offer sexually oriented content. Although Snapchat’s terms of service explicit content discourage, these channels include images posted from magazines, television stations, and other content providers that can be inappropriate for children. For example, some of the popular channels featured on Discover include MTV, Cosmopolitan, Vice, and BuzzFeed.
This feature was released to encourage Snapchat users to use Snapchat more often. A Snapstreak occurs when two users have snapped back and forth within a 24-hour period for three days in a row. Once this happens, a flame emoji and a number will appear next to the streakers’ names to show how long the streak has been maintained.
Teenagers consider maintaining streaks is very important 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.
What you can do to protect your kids on Snapchat
You must be at least 13 years old to register Snapchat, which is in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. If your child is not yet 13 but wants a Snapchat account, ask them to register, because Snapchat will ask for your date of birth, and – if you’re under 13 – you won’t be able to register. Accompanying your child also prevents them from making a fake date of birth.
Snapchat can be a fun and engaging app when used properly. But it must be used with care and with very specific basic rules, or may not be used at all. Apps like Snapchat remind parents that they need to be vigilant about their children’s smartphones and monitor their activities to avoid problems like sexting, cyberbullying, cyberbullying, or other things on the dark side of children’s use of smartphones.
Make strict rules for your children to know what they can and should not do on Snapchat, discuss news on the internet about crimes that may be committed using this application so they can avoid it.