As more parents and grandparents embrace Facebook, teens seem to be inclined towards newer forms of social media. They are bored of mom posting old photos of them and telling family stories, no matter how cute and adorable their parents think they are.
A popular app and one the most commonly misused apps by teens on smartphones or tablets is Snapchat. Snapchat has grown widely popular in a very short period of time. The app is used as a way to send short videos, pictures or text messages to other Snapchat users. The messages that are sent are self-destructing, so that once they are viewed by the intended recipient, the message, picture or video is deleted so that it cannot be seen again.
How Does Snapchat work?
Snapchat was developed to help with sharing quick temporary photos and videos between friends. The app is downloaded and installed on a smartphone or tablet, an account is created from within the app and contacts are added by searching for others who have downloaded and installed the app. This is the same way that most social media applications work, with differences in the dynamics or the theme that each particular app wants to project. Snapchat gives the sender a chance to set a limit time for how long the receiver can view the snaps before they dissipate. This allows senders to send quick reminders or show goofy faces without feeling that the message will end up in the wrong hands or saved for an embarrassing situation later.
Why Kids Are Attracted To Snapchat?
The Snapchat app has attracted millions of users over a short period of time. The app is fairly easy to use. Friends who have the app can send and receive video or text messages to each other without worrying about others seeing it later and giving unnecessary criticism. Users come up with clever games to send things back and forth, maybe to see if you can catch certain peculiarity or find something funny that can never be shared with someone else since the message goes away after receiving it. After its launch, in 2015 the app attracted up to 2 billion photos and videos sent every day. The Snapchat stories were viewed up to 500 million times a day. These figures increased drastically and by 2016, up to 7 billion videos are viewed every day.
Is Snapchat Safe For Teens?
As with most things, Snapchat is as safe as the decisions that are made by the ones using it. With Snapchat, there is no filter as to what can be sent or received back and forth. Because messages self-destruct upon receiving a message, there is no way to clearly show what it is that was sent. For teens, this can become a problem when they are sent unwanted messages with insults and other forms of harassment.
Because users feel that images sent and received are private and cannot be shared with others, the app is often used as a way to send nude images, also known as “sexting.” Unfortunately, this self-destructs process can be bypassed if the recipient captures the screenshot of it and share it later. The fact that teenagers would have the ability to use Snapchat for these things should be cause for concern.
Why Parents Should Not Allow Snapchat For Kids?
There are lots of reasons for parents to want their children to stay away from using Snapchat on their smartphone or tablet. When children were provided access to smartphone and tablets from their parents, it was likely for keeping in touch and helping with homework. It was most likely not provided to the children so that they could potentially hide dangerous activities.
The app does not follow rules on the age limits for people signing into the app. This means that parents should do a check on their child’s tablet or smartphone to see if it has been installed or not. The app allows users to post short clips that disappear within a short time, this has attracted cyberbullying as well. The app is not always used with bad intentions, there is entertainment value to be harvested from Snapchat, but the theme and environment are inherently unsafe for children to be using. Public profiles and sharing videos globally can give the wrong people too much information.
How Parents Can Keep Their Kids Safe from Snapchat?
Parents can keep an open and honest dialogue with their children in regards to what they are doing on the smartphone or tablet. They can use parental control app such as Nischint to monitor their child’s device and block apps. Understanding how the apps that their children use is important for parents so that they can determine if there are any dangers for their children. Wireless Internet usage from a smartphone or tablet are great tools for creative teens and aspiring students. But if used in a way that is not safe or responsible, they can facilitate some dangerous mistakes. It is important that parents learn along with their children so that they can keep an eye out for each other in cyberspace and stay safe.
Nischint is a parental control solution whose prime focus is to create a safe digital environment for children today. We help children learn how to use their devices responsibly and also provide parents with the ability to monitor their child’s lives online. With Nischint parents can schedule app and device usage, so that children can focus while they are at school/studying/playing and they get to experience the best of both worlds.