Snapchat: a parent's guide

Snapchat

CC0 Public Domain

What you need to know about the popular app that kids love

Snapchat is a picture sharing app that’s hugely popular with young people. As of January 2018, the app was attracting 191million users a day.

It’s often referred to as 'the sexting app', even though there’s no research showing that to be true, and plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting that isn't the reason most teens use it.

The app focuses on capturing ‘moments’ quickly, with users taking images (Snaps) and videos and sharing them instantly.

The unique feature of Snapchat when it launched was that images disappeared within seconds. Snapchat users can specify how many seconds they would like their images to be seen by the recipient(s). This originally ranged from 1 to 10 seconds but you can now choose to keep your images up as long as you want, as well as use them to create Stories, which can be viewed for 24 hours.

Snapchat Streaks have been known to last for years’

Snapchat Streaks happen when users send Snaps to each other for consecutive days without a break. Snapchat Streaks have been known to last for years and have raised concerns that maintaining them can cause stress, as well as possible security issues with users sometimes sharing their WhatsApp passwords with friends. That way, they can keep Streaks going, even if they don’t have access to their phone for any length of time. 

In June 2017, Snapchat introduced a location-sharing feature called Snap Map. 

This feature prompted some concern from parents and professionals working with children over privacy and safety, as you don't need to be friends with a user for them to see where you are if you have this switched on.

To combat this, users can specify who they share their whereabouts with – all their friends or just a select few. They can even set it to ‘ghost mode’, where they can see where others are without sharing their own location.

Thinkuknow, the education programme of The National Crime Agency’s child protection command CEOP, has created a guide for parents and carers to help them understand the functions and features of Snapchat and ways to help young people stay safe while using it.

Click on the link below to read CEOP's comprehensive guide to Snapchat.

Further reading

Snapchat FAQs for parents

 

The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Zone or CEOP.

First published: June 2017
Updated: ​May 2018

 

Experts: 
Creative Commons Licence

Safety and settings

Color: 
Orange