Before we dive into our safety guidelines – we’ll briefly explain what SnapChat is and how it works. Don’t worry most parents haven’t the faintest idea of what it is or how it works.
Snapchat is one of the most popular social media platforms amongst tweens and teens and can be used by anyone over the age of 13.
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It’s a messaging app that allows users to exchange pictures and videos (aka snaps) that disappear once they're viewed.
It's marketed as a "new type of camera" because the fundamental function is to take picture or videos, with added filters, lenses, and other “cool” effects and share them with friends.
To sign up, all you need to do is fill in your name, email address and birth date.
Once you’re signed up, you select your username otherwise known as a handle. To add friends, you can either upload from your contacts or search for friends who already have the app.
Additionally, you can add someone by taking a picture of their "Snapcode," a special code unique to each user.
Instead of texting, you begin conversations with photos. There are an array of photo-editing tools and filters, some are even animated.
Once your snap is ready to go – you can send it to anyone in your SnapChat friends list or add it to your story which is only available for 24 hours.
You can also send messages and stories to a group. Messages sent to a group can be deleted, but there will be a record that you have deleted something.
When it comes to “snaps”, unopened ones that are not taken on the spot can be deleted. Snaps that include pictures you just took and didn’t save cannot be deleted.
SnapChat also features a map otherwise known as a Snap Map. This map displays your location in real-time and can only be seen by friends – if your friends have opted into Snap Map you can see their location too.
You can turn this feature off or use it in Ghost Mode, which allows you to see the map but not be seen by others.
The issue with this is – your location can be seen by all of your SnapChat contacts and some of them might not be your real friends. And with many teens accepting friendship requests from random people – the chances of strangers knowing the location of your teen are relatively high.
There are three important safety guidelines that we think are key to your kid’s internet safety.
Most schools are aware of them and have told their pupils all about them, but they are worth repeating and the payoff is huge, your kids will be safe.
Make sure your child is using their real name in their profile and pic. It doesn't have to be a full pic nor a full name, if your kid’s name is Eve, then Eve should appear in the Profile. Real accounts tend to behave themselves.
Facebook research indicates that fake accounts bully five times more than real accounts.
Privacy Settings - View my story - 'My friends only'.
There are three options and the correct one for your kid 'My friends only'. Don't use the other two settings 'Custom' and 'Everyone'.
No more than 20 friends allowed.
People with hundreds of followers get bullied at some stage.
Facebook which owns Instagram and WhatsApp in addition to their flagship tells us that limiting friend numbers is vital.
Turn off Snap Map – it’s not necessary and may save their life.
Finally check their settings regularly, as teenagers often change these settings.
Internet safety and how to stay safe online is critical in today’s day and age. The internet is an intricate part of our lives and denying puts our children at great risk.
Our internet safety talks for kids are aimed at sharing valuable information and facts about internet safety. We address classes with relevant, age-appropriate information.
Our talks are interactive and engage in serious matters in a fun manner – helping children understand why they need to ensure their safety online.
Apps like SnapChat don’t have to be dangerous, however, they need to be used responsibly. Our talks help kids learn how to use Apps responsibly and securely.
For more information about our internet safety talks, please contact us.
Check out our article about Online Reputation.
Safety Guidelines – What parents need to know about Snapchat
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