- Snapchat has become a global social media phenomenon that kids and young people simply can’t do without
- There are potential dangers associated with the photo-app that could put your child’s security at risk
- It’s important to take your kids through the do’s and don’ts of Snapchat before they download it
What Is Snapchat?
The picture-messaging app has proven to be a global phenomenon since its release and today boasts more than 100 million daily users worldwide. Snapchat allows its users to communicate through pictures and videos taken on their smartphone.
Moreover, the “story” feature lets users post daily picture or video updates for their followers to see for up to 24 hours. Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel stated that 60 per cent of Snapchat’s users were sending pictures to their “friends” directly or to their stories.
It’s vitally important that younger people, especially children and their parents, are given a thorough introduction to Snapchat and how it works.
While it retains many regulatory standards associated with social media, the threat of building relationships with strangers who lie about their true identity is just one of the many safety risks linked to the app.
Here are some of the reasons why people should be vigilant before delving into the mind-boggling world of Snapchat:
It’s Very Easy to Get Used To
Snapchat isn’t a video game, nor is it a traditional method of social media. It’s ground-breaking approach to chatting and communicating with friends and family is focused on simplicity and ease of use.
This means that almost anyone, including young children, could download the app on to a smartphone and get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Monitoring software such as McAfee’s Parental Controls allow trusted adults to keep a close eye on children’s online activities.
Snapchat’s user-friendly design means that parents should consider introducing it to their kids very carefully and provide support as often as possible.
Be Wary of Discretion
Discretion is widely advertised by many social media platforms – not least Snapchat who put a time limit on snaps being visible to followers.
However, there are some features outside of the App itself – such as screen capture – which make it very easy for people to take a screenshot of any snap they open.
Discretion on the internet is very difficult to guarantee, so you should remember this when snapping with other people.
Never snap anything that seems inappropriate, as there’s always a possibility these pictures can be saved.
You Can Adjust Your Privacy Settings
Snapchat includes privacy settings which let you control who views your snaps, as well as who can send you snaps.
If you’re concerned about Snapchat’s level of privacy, adjusting the privacy settings in the app should be the first thing you do. Here’s how to get there:
- Open and log in to Snapchat
- Access your profile by clicking on the ghost icon at the top-centre of your screen
- Access settings by clicking on the gear icon at the top right of your screen
- Look for the “Who Can…” heading in settings
- Select View My Story or Send Me Snaps and choose between Everyone and My Friends
You Can Block or Report Individuals
This is a very important point to make to your snap-happy child.
If they come across someone who makes them feel uneasy or concerned, they can quite easily block them altogether. The block option is shown when you view a Snapchat profile.
Simply click on the suspect individuals Snapchat profile in your friends list and you can block them. You also have the option to mention why you have blocked them, such as not knowing them or receiving inappropriate snaps from them.
It’s Getting Even More Popular
Snapchat is growing in popularity thanks to its subtle yet masterful advertising schemes. The filter feature has been a monster hit worldwide, so much so that it’s difficult to see someone without a flowery headpiece or dog ears these days.
This growth in popularity could lead to improved features and even more safety concerns for parents and their children.
In July 2016, Snapchat approved people posting saved pictures from their camera roll on to their story - a move that has been criticised by some who believe “catfishes” may find it easier to pose as an entirely different person.
Social media is an ever-changing world that brings about new challenges for those seeking enhanced digital monitoring and regulatory features. Parents and their children are always at risk, which is why McAfee have introduced new and enhanced Antivirus packages for 2016.
Once you’ve ensured the safety and security of your child, there’s a lot of good to come out of Snapchat. You can quite easily combine moderation with enjoyment and help your kids settle in the mind-boggling world of social media – so stay safe and wear that flowery headpiece with pride!