Snapchat safety – What parents need to know

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 social media 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. However, Snapchat features now 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 unless you delete it or set a different limit. You can also add different filters, lenses, emojis and text to your Snap. Additionally, you can create a group chat to talk with friends or message individual friends.

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 well-known people. Some use this feature to meet new 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.

To register, users must download the social media app to their device. Then they must enter their date of birth and create and username and password. Users are then asked to enter their mobile phone number. This is an optional step to help if you get locked out of your account. However, you can use email instead if you prefer.

What is My AI?

Screenshot from Snapchat's My AI.With the popularity of AIs like ChatGPT, Snapchat has added their own version called My AI. It appears in users’ contact lists automatically. Unlike other contacts, My AI cannot be deleted unless you have Snapchat+, Snapchat’s premium subscription option.

My AI works like any other chatbot, allowing users to have conversations with AI. Like ChatGPT, it can also provide more detailed answers like the solution to a Maths problem. With any AI tool, it’s important that children understand appropriate and inappropriate ways to use it to support skill-building.

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? 

Like many other social networks, 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.

What is Snapchat Family Centre?

Snapchat Family Centre is an in-app feature to help parents engage with their teens’ digital world. The feature helps lead the way for important online safety conversations. According to Snap, this will “reflect the way that parents engage with their teens in the real world.” Just like offline, parents can know who their teens’ online friends are.

Family Centre on Snapchat allows a direct link between parent and teen.

Watch this video to learn more about how Snapchat Family Centre safety feature

What Snapchat Family Centre allow parents to do

  • See which Snapchat friends their teens have sent messages, photos or videos to in the last seven days. It does not reveal the actual contents of their conversations (Snaps or messages);
  • See a complete list of their teens’ existing friends;
  • Easily view new friends their teens have added, making it easy to start conversations about who their new contacts are;
  • Easily and confidentially report any accounts Snapchat’s 24/7 Trust and Safety teams to investigate;
  • Access key information about how to use Family Centre tools as well as resources for important conversation starters and tips for using Snapchat safely.

Teens who have opted-in to Family Center can also see what their parents see, with a mirrored view of features. Teens can also notify parents when they report an account or a piece of content on the platform.

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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