Snapchat safety: a how to guide for parents

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

The third in our series of how to guides looks at the global real-time photo and video sharing app, Snapchat. Snapchat averages 400 million ‘snaps’ a day, the minimum age to sign-up for an account is 13.

About the App

How does Snapchat work?

Each time a Snap is shared your child can choose how long the viewers can view it – from 1 to 10 seconds. Snaps capture a moment and aren’t captured with a screenshot. If a person screenshots a Snap that has been sent to them, Snapchat will notify your child but people have found workarounds to this so please share this with your child.

Who can my child share content with on Snapchat

Users can share content with 3 different audiences.

  • Everyone
    This will mean that their content will be seen by all users.
  • Status Message
    Videos and photos are only seen by added friends. Your child must actively add friends that they would like to send or receive content from.
  • Online
    This enables your child to select friends they want to block from seeing their content. By default only users your child has added to their friends list can send them content

Who can send them content?

Your child can choose to receive content from either “Everyone” or “My Friends”. Encourage your child to set their default setting to only accept content from “My Friends”.

Tap the ghost icon > tap the gear icon > select “My Friends”.

There are three sections that you should update ‘Contact Me’, ‘My Story’ and ‘Quick add’.

(i) Quick add feature allows people who have your phone number in their contact list to add you as a friend on Snapchat app

This will ensure that only people your child has added (or friended) on Snapchat can send them a photo or video.

Screenshot is possible – the Snapchat platform does not support this but Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android smartphones do allow you to take screenshots and save them. Encourage your child not to screen grab Snaps without permission from the sender.

Sharing content with real friends

Snapchat, like other social networking apps, is designed to share moments with “real life” friends but there is still the danger that children may connect with people they don’t know.

Encourage your child to only share content with their “real friends” and share things they would be happy to share with you.

Sending nude images of children under 18 is illegal and may be shared people that it was not intended for. Have an open and honest conversation about the implications of sexting with your child. Click here for more info.

Location sharing – Snap maps

Snap maps enable a user, if you and a friend follow one another, to share their locations with each other so you can see where they are and what’s going on around them.

As this new feature shows your precise location pinpoint on a map – we would encourage users not to share their location, especially with people they don’t know in person.

Location settings

There are three location settings to chose from:

Ghost Mode: you are the only person who can see your location on the map. Within Ghost Mode you can still see the locations of your friends but they will be unable to see you.

My Friends: means that all of your contacts on Snapchat can see your location.

Select Friends: allows users to look through their friend list and then decide which of their friends they want to be able to view their location.

Only share your location with people you know in person. Never share your location with strangers.  For more information on Snap Maps visit their information page.

Browsing safely

Snapchat uses Google’s browsing service to warn users of suspected phishing, malware, other dangerous sites.

Managing the content your child can see on Snapchat

There are a set of community guidelines about what you can and cannot post, and you can view them here.

Delete or Block the user
When you block or delete a user that person is unable to view or comment on any of your posts. People aren’t notified when you block them.

Report a Snap on Story Explorer
If you see something on Story Explorer that does not follow Snapchat’s Community Guidelines, press and hold on the Snap to report it to their team.

Reporting content
If your child receives inappropriate images or someone’s harassing them, you can go to follow the steps to report it to Snapchat.

Deleted account
If you’d like to remove your child’s account permanently, go to Snapchat account deactivation page

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

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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