What is Your Child Doing on Snapchat?

Snapchat is an extremely popular messaging and social media platform primarily used to send photos, videos, and Boomerangs to either a single person or a group of people. This medium is enticing to younger audiences , as it allows them to send content that includes themselves to other people, often adding a facial expression or some other personal touch that enhances the conversation. In this week’s post, we’ll be discussing Snapchat’s Messaging, Story, Map, and Discover features, as well as ways to ensure your child’s safety while using this platform.

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Messages

Similar to a text message inbox, Snapchat’s Messaging feature contains a list of people you’ve been in contact with, with the most recent conversation being at the top. New incoming Snaps are shown as small squares, while outgoing Snaps are represented with an arrow. Unlike text messages however, Snaps do not stay in the inbox; instead, they are deleted once the user has viewed the message and can only be shown again through a replay. By default, Snapchat only allows your child’s friends to see and send Snapchats with your child, creating a more private atmosphere. There is an option to allow anyone to see and send Snapchats, but this is not recommended.

To view Snapchat’s Messaging feature, swipe right while in the camera view of Snapchat.

SNAPCHAT STORY

Snapchat’s Story feature is almost synonymous with Instagram’s story, allowing you to share videos, pictures, and past memories with the people who follow you for up to 24 hours at a time. Stories can be anything from a picture of a historical monument seen on vacation, to a funny moment during class, to a full-fledged rant about how waffles are better than pancakes. Just like Instagram however, anyone who follows you can see your story, so it’s extremely important to be conscious of what you share online. Make sure to talk with your child about what is and what is not appropriate to post on their Story.

To view Snapchat’s Story feature, swipe left while in the camera view of Snapchat.

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SNAP MAP

Want to know what your friends are up to on a Saturday night? Snapchat’s Map feature allows you to see where and even sometimes what your friends are up to at any given time. The Map feature also allows you to see some of the major events going around the world. While this function can be a fun way to see where your friends are in a holistic way, it can also be seen as an invasion of privacy. The Map feature can also cause an unsafe environment if your child adds a stranger to their friends list. If your child is sharing their location, this can allow these strangers to see your child’s location at any given time. For this reason, we suggest hiding your child’s location in the settings menu.

To view Snapchat’s Map feature, drag down on your phone screen while in the camera view of Snapchat.

DISCOVER

Satisfying Posts, What Makes a Better Electric Toothbrush?, and Truth Or Dare: Loser Has To Strip are just 3 of the many video news segments that can be found in the Discover section of Snapchat. Functioning similarly to a news tabloid, the Discover Section provides short eye-catching video posts about the latest trends, click-baity stories, new gadgets, celebrity news, and more. Just as some of the above topics and titles suggest, the Discover section can have mature content that may not be suitable for your child. While you can disable some of the news sections, you aren’t able to hide all of them, so it’s important to discuss with your child which news sections they are allowed to watch and which ones to avoid.

To view Snapchat’s Discover feature, swipe left while in the camera view of Snapchat.

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MODERATION IS KEY

One other important thing to note is the amount of time your child spends on Instagram, or any social media platform for that matter. When someone receives a like, comment, or other reaction on a post they made, the chemical Dopamine is released in the body, and that person feels a burst of happiness. This may seem like a great response, but when a person develops the habit of being on social media for several hours a day, their brain begins to depend on this source of Dopamine. This addiction soon becomes similar to that of a drug addict or alcoholic. Because of this tendency, it’s important to make social media time a very small portion of your child’s day.

WHO’S ON YOUR CHILD’S FRIENDS LIST?

Like with any other social media platform, it’s important to know who your “friends” are. This is especially important on Snapchat, as sending pictures to people you may not know can have heavy consequences, . Make sure to talk to your child about adding only friends and family members to their friends list, and also make sure to stress to them the importance of refraining from friending people they don’t know online. When used properly and in moderation, Snapchat can be an amazing medium for communicating and sharing life events with friends.

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