Snapchat safety: a how to guide for parents

Watch mummy bloggler Adele Jennings to see what you need to know

Snapchat, a real-time photo and video sharing app with an average of 210 million snaps sent a day. We provide you all that there is to know about the app.

What’s on the page

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a popular messaging app that allows you to send and receive pictures and videos (called a Snap) to users. Snap Inc is the developer of the app and also creates other products such as Snapchat Spectacles.

It is available for both Android and iOS users and is free to download.

Credit: TechCrunch

How does Snapchat work?

It was initially a private photo-sharing app, but since then has grown to include short videos, games, video chat, messaging, a place to store photos, and more.

Each Snap shared with your followers is temporary and is available for 24 hours – or unless you delete it and you can set the Snaps between a 1-10 limit or not limit at all. You can also add different filters, lenses, emojis, and text to your Snap.

As well as the above, Snapchat has a ‘Discovery’ and ‘Spotlight area.

  • The Discovery feature – works as a newsfeed featuring content from news publishers and also well-known people.
  • The Spotlight feature – working like TikTok, Spotlight is a dedicated tab in Snapchat for promoting short viral videos. The Spotlight feature will use an algorithm to recommend the ‘most engaging’ posts to watch based on what a user is interested in.
Parental controls light-bulb

Learn how to set privacy and safety settings on the Snapchat social platform to help your child have a safer experience.

See guide

What is Snapchat’s minimum age? 

The minimum age to use Snapchat is 13 years old.

Does Snapchat have any privacy or safety features? 

Snapchat introduced a Safety Advisory Board who ‘educate, challenge, raise issues, and advise Snapchatters on how to keep the Snapchat community safe’.
Apart from the usual reporting, blocking, and disabling location features, Snapchat also has introduced the following:

  • Here For You – a mental health feature that provides proactive in-app support to Snapchatters who may be experiencing mental health or emotional crisis, or who may be curious to learn more about these issues and how they can help friends dealing with them
  • Safety Snapshot – a digital literacy program by Snapchat aimed at educating Snapchatters about data, privacy, security, and online safety issues
  • Updated privacy for under 18s – There are no browsable public profiles for Snapchatters under 18
  • Default chat functions – By default, you cannot Chat or contact someone directly unless you have both added each other as friends

Take a look at our Snapchat privacy parental controls for info on how to enable certain settings.

Snapchat Games

Snapchat’s gaming feature ‘Snap Games’ has various competitive and non-competitive games to play with friends. It also has a voice and chats feature where you can either text or through live audio. Users can also receive in-game rewards, like coins or items by watching an ad, however, Snapchat has stated ‘video rewards may not be available for all Snapchatters’ – but not specify what criteria you would have to meet.

Snap Games can be accessed from the Snapchat app.

Latest Snapchat updates

As of Feb 2021

Bitmoji Wheelchair Representation for Inclusivity Project
Snapchat’s emojis called Bitmoji’s, have introduced a selection of accessible Bitmoji for Snapchatters to use from, such as a wheelchair Bitmoji.

Coming soon

Friend Check Up
As part of Safer Internet Day (9th Feb 2021), Snapchat introduced the Friend Check Up feature. This feature will prompt Snapchatters to review their Friend lists and make sure it’s made up of people they still want to be connected to. Friend Check Up is available for Android devices, and will be available for iOS devices in the coming months.

More to Explore

If you’d like to learn more about the Snapchat and other similar apps, here are some places you can visit:

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