Snapchat is currently one of the most popular apps used among teens but it’s even higher up the list of popularity when it comes to usage by tweens, kids aged 9 to 12. This is the case even though the signup age restriction is 13 and it questionable if anyone under 16 should even be using the app. Whatever the case, parental interaction is advised.
Snapchat is based on the ability for users to send pictures and videos instantly to friends with the added twist that those pics and vids will only be seen from 1 to 10 seconds, then disappear. The user decides how long their followers will be able to view the content. This feature is what first attracted youngsters. It garners instant attention with friends and also has a chat feature for instant communication. The problem is the short time limits that an image is available on the app for all to see can also give kids a false sense of security.
When Snapchat first came on the scene it mainly went unnoticed by parents because let’s face it, a few years ago we were not as savvy at keeping up on the latest craze in social media networking apps. Facebook was king and other social media platforms were not in the forefront people’s minds when it came to protecting kids online. Today, parents and guardians are more in the loop and aware of the due diligence needed to stay on top of evolving technologies. We also use apps as much as kids do, just not the same ones.
Before we speak to possible solutions to either block a Snapchat app download or restrict it’s use, let’s look at the current status of Snapchat dangers and pitfalls.
The Dangers of Snapchat
One the attractive things to teens about Snapchat in the early days of the app was that kids were always told that “anything they upload online will be there forever, even after you delete”. This is still true in many cases. However, kids need to know that sending an image to all your followers even for just a second doesn’t mean some of those connections will take a screen shot of that image before it disappears. This results in that seemingly instant photo being in the possession of others for as long as they wish to keep it or share it with others.
The bottom line, Snapchat is not any more dangerous any other app where kids are connected to other kids except that is may embolden users to take greater risks with the images or videos they create and send out into cyberspace. So, while each parent should decide how old their children should be before they go on Snapchat, an open conversation about online behavior has never been more vital. Online security and privacy protection may be increasing in the technology but it’s often only as good as a users behavior on that technology.
It’s also important to note that while images may not be readily available online there are ways to recover images from the users computer or phone even after they have be removed from the Snapchat app. We all need to take a lesson and pass it on to kids. Digital footprints online and even on our own private computers, the cloud, and on phones stress the importance of being responsible with our pictures and private information. The lesson to be learned by parents and to be taught to our kids is the same for all online activity online. “Be responsible and don’t do anything that may come back to haunt you later in life”.
Monitoring Snapchat Usage
Like any website, app or anything kids do online, the standard rules apply. Families need to have educational conversations about what they share online and who they share it with. Beyond that, the only way to truly have control over your child’s web surfing habits and social media usage including Snapchat, is to install parental controls. With these controls you can monitor and have a say in all online activity. This includes setting restrictions at various levels according to the ages of family members, while blocking the worst of the worst content at all times.
Safe Search Kids restricts the all harmful content while searching Google from the top of our website, but it doesn’t prevent users from leaving our website to search elsewhere.
Parental control means you can decide to block all app downloads or only those specific apps you may deem too young for your kids. After a child has permission to download and use an app, parental control software allows parents to manage and monitor the usage.
It’s not just control over Snapchat, it’s any social media app including Tiktok, Instagram, Messenger, Facebook, event WhatsApp… and the next big thing we don’t even know about yet. New ways to connect with friends will always be attractive to that kids who want to connect with their friends online without parental supervision. It happened to Facebook when young people left the world’s #1 social media platform for Instagram. It’s totally natural. The older kids get the more they want to forge their own identity. Parents just want the internet savvy and tools to guide kids in a safe and healthy manner as they explore their world online.
Parental Control App
Wondershare has a wonderful (pun intended) parental control app that gives parents complete control within their home and everywhere else a child’s phone may roam.
It’s called FamiSafe and features include:
- App usage and blocker.
- Screen time controls.
- Web content control.
- Parental alerts.
- Family locator.
- Activity reports.
- Custom settings for each individual family member on multiple devices.
FamiSafe can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android phones, tablets, Kindle Fire. It’s secure and trustworthy thanks to the Wondershare name, a software company that has been around for years building quality and user friendly programs for multiple purposes.
Learn more and Download Wondershare FamiSafe for your individual family devices.