9 Things Parents Need to Know About Snapchat

9 Things Every Parent Should Know About Snapchat
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What pictures would you share if you thought the photos would only be visible for a few seconds? That’s the question teens who use Snapchat ask themselves every day.

While some teens use Snapchat to share silly photos of themselves eating a hamburger or wearing a ridiculous outfit, others use the popular app to share private information that isn’t appropriate for public forums.

If your teen uses a smartphone, there’s a good chance she uses Snapchat.

Educate yourself about how this popular app works so you can provide your teen with appropriate education and safety warnings.  Here are 10 things every parent should know about Snapchat:

1. Users Decide How Long a Message Will Remain Active

When Snapchat users send a picture or a short video, they can choose how long the recipient can view the content—anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds. Then, when the time is up, the content disappears.

2. The Information Doesn’t Actually Disappear

While many teens wouldn’t send scantily clad photos via email or text message, many of them believe it’s safe to do so over Snapchat because the message ‘disappears.’ But in reality, there are ways to access information after the message fades away. For example, recipients can take screenshots of the content and store images on their devices.

3. Expired Messages can be Recovered

The premise of Snapchat can give some teens a false sense of security.

In a recent study conducted by the University of Washington, over 14% of teens said they were confident that expired messages could never be recovered. In reality, however, someone with technical expertise is likely to be able to recover photos long after they’ve disappeared from a recipient’s screen.

The false sense of security, however, can lead some teens to share content that they wouldn’t normally share via social media. Some teens share private information, while others send scantily clad—or even nude photos—under the premise that the information will permanently disappear in seconds.

4. Receiving Underage Nude Photos Constitutes Child Pornography

Snapchat recently added a Snapchat Safety Center to its website where it asked underage teens to stop sexting. There have been many incidents of teens being charged with child pornography after exchanging nude photos on the app.

5. Snapchat Has Experienced Data Breaches

In 2014, a hacker published a database containing 4.5 million Snapchat user names and phone numbers online. Much like other online sites, Snapchat isn’t immune to data breaches.

6. Anyone Over the Age of 13 Can Access Snapchat

Users under the age of 13 can use a limited version of Snapchat that allows them to take pictures and draw on them, but they aren’t allowed to send photos.

7. Snapchat is Especially Popular Among Young Girls

The Wall Street Journal reports that 70% of all Snapchat users are female. About 71% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25, according to Social Times.

8. Snapchat Remains One of the Most Popular Social Media Platforms for Teens

The Pew Research Center reports that while Facebook remains the most popular social media platform for teens, Snapchat comes in third, right behind Instagram. Approximately 40% of all teens report using Snapchat.

9. Companies are Paying Big Money to Advertise to Teens on Snapchat

Since Snapchat is dominated by young people, companies are paying millions of dollars a day to advertise to them. Colleges, fast food restaurants, and teen-friendly clothing companies are using Snapchat to reach young people.

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