If you are a parent of a child of a certain age, probably a tween or teenager, you are familiar with Snapchat. You know how all-consuming and addictive the app can be for the younger generation. The real question for parents is, is it safe?
Before you panic and contact highly skilled sex crime attorneys to investigate what your teen is chatting about, read the information below on the “what” the app is all about and “how” to keep your child safe using the Snapchat App.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a social media style sharing app that allows users to take a picture of something, or a short video clip, and share it with a single contact or group. The “snap” of everyday life is meant to be shared and then disappear after a certain amount of time. However, like all things connected to the Internet, the snap is forever if you know where to look.
The photo or snapshot can be customized with various bells and whistles to make it more appealing, funny, or different. The idea is to grab your friends, the person or persons you are sending the Snapchat to, attention.
There are some aspects of the app that not everyone knows about, and this is where parents want to investigate before allowing their child to install and use the app on their cell phone or other electronic device.
One of the app’s designs allows others using the app to locate an individual using a map. The Snap Map allows others to see the location of the picture just posted on the app. And it is not limited to the people in your Snapchat circle. Anyone using the app can see when and where you took the picture you are sharing.
Most parents do not know about this map extra and the dangers it can pose for their child. Similar to the location tag on your cell phone picture-taking app, there are two ways to disable the location map.
Ghost Mode – this setting allows the Snapchat user to choose a silent or secret place on the map. No one receiving or viewing the snap will be able to view the sender’s location. The problem with this setting is that most teens do not want to use it. They seem to think it is not cool.
Disable Map Mode – the best and simplest way to keep your children safe from possible harm is to disable the map mode on the Snapchat app. There are a few steps to disable this part of the photo-sharing app and your teen may not even know it has been turned off.
Talk to Your Child
Before allowing your child to install the Snapchat app, talk to them about their sharing habits and safety. Without scaring them, tell them about the dangers of certain individuals knowing where they are. Ask them to be mindful about what photos they share, as well as what sensitive information they broadcast on the social media app.
As parents, keeping your child safe is the number one priority. It may take a little preparation, but it will be worth it when your child is safe online.