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How Safe Is Snapchat for Kids?

Introduction

Each year thousands of mobile applications get developed and launched across the world. Whether they are designed for personal or business use, they truly fulfill the changing needs of the consumers remarkably. One such application is Snapchat that is a messaging application for a mobile and meant for sharing texts, photos, drawings and videos as well.

The Snapchat got released in 2011, and now is available for both iPhone and Android devices. It is free to use and has become popular quickly. Young people especially teenagers are just crazy about using this application and since 'selfies' have become a norm; Snapchat is the easiest means to transfer them quickly. The interesting aspect of Snapchat is that the photo that gets transferred self-destructs within seconds after it has been received by the other person. But this app can even send a false sense of security for the teenagers who believe that they can send the humiliating photos without the consequences.

Working of Snapchat and its Concerns

Snapchat is the perfect app for taking selfies either singly or a group of friends. It can also be used to receive the photo as well. The choice to alter the length of the video or a photo enables the user to send the desired content be within ten seconds. When the other individual receives the photo or the 'snap', he needs to press and hold to view the video or the photo. But if there is a delay, then the snap can no longer be viewed.

Despite being a unique app, Snapchat surely comes with some concerns. It has become popular amongst teens who are tempted enough to send all kinds of photos and videos to each other. They do it regardless of the fact that the content cannot be saved or shared respectively. That's why the photos cannot remain tagged up but they end up associated with the respective individual on the Facebook forever. Thus, there can be no restriction towards sharing of any various types of content at all.

For example, your friend may take a screenshot of your photo. Though he would need deft fingers and that you will be notified by the service when the screenshot has been taken, yet it can be shared with others easily.

Privacy settings for Snapchat

The user has only got some options while using Snapchat. He or she can use a setting to permit only a few friends to send the snaps. He can choose this option under the Settings where he can change the option of 'Everyone to' My Friends' respectively.

An individual can block another from sending him the pictures. For this, he has to find the name on his friend's list, then click and hold the name for a second to bring up some of the icons. The 'Gear' icon has to be clicked that can block the other from sending the pictures.

How can parents monitor children that use Snapchat?

These days the teenagers have immersed themselves in the new kinds of social media websites. This means there can be more concerns and in some cases, parents need to check their children for what they are doing at any time. Given below are a few tips and details that parents should know will enable them to control their kids as they use Snapchat respectively.

1. Snapchat is an engaging and fun way to remain in touch friends by sharing countless crazy images and videos. The images can vary either being taken at school, at the mall or even the bathroom. Thus, apart from being a communication tool, Snapchat can be overly misused as well. So, a parent should discuss the appropriate way of using the app with their kid or children to avoid any issues from happening at all.

2. The teenagers believe that Snapchat is harmless since photo texts and videos can disappear in only ten seconds. But this tool gives the chance to save the screenshots conveniently. This is where there can be a major concern for the parents because they simply do not have the control over their kid's screen at any moment. Moreover, children can create episodes of cyber bullying in the future as well.

3. Every app comes with a help guide and terms of usage respectively. The aspect about 'Terms of Use' needs to be read by the parents who should then discuss them with their kids. Two major terms are the eligibility of the user for using the app, and the other is the parental permission for using the app. Snapchat can only be used by those who are at least 13 years old and if they are under 18, then they require permission from the parents.

Moreover, the user also agrees to allow the application to have access to the address book that will then allow the uploading of the information to the servers. This means that the user has shared his private details with family and friends without their consent respectively.

4. When the picture or the snap is sent to other person, you grant the non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, worldwide, and sub-licensable license to Snapchat. So, the app can modify, edit, reproduce, create, use and publish the works in association with the services that are used by the user. But the access is subjected to the usage of the privacy settings of the respective individual that allows him to restrict or give access to the other for viewing the content.

5. These days a modified version of 'Snapkidz' is also available to use by the kids that are under 13 years. Through this version, they can capture snaps, create captions and even draw on the snaps as well. But the function of receiving and sending pictures is not supported with this app. The whole process of using the application only takes place on the user's device where the snaps get stored.

6. Verizon that is a mobile cellular company provides valuable information to the parents about Snapchat. This is essential since Snapchat can also be used for 'sexting' that enables users to send nude or sexually explicit content easily. So, teenagers find it humorous to circulate private photos since the screen capture capability of Snapchat is handy indeed.

7. The reality is that teens nowadays, have become tech savvy and can easily outsmart the parents. As a parent, one just needs to talk to his kid about the usage of social media websites and even Snapchat. The kids have to be informed about the good and the bad side of various apps and why they have to follow some rules. The teenagers, in this regard, should be made to realize what the misuse of Snapchat can lead to later on in life. As anything posted online, can surface when they least expect it as they grow old.

8. The kids need to understand that despite the necessary precautions, anything that gets posted on social media can still become public in a few seconds only. This means that any content that gets posted can make trouble for you. Thus, children have to act sensibly while using Snapchat or other related applications for transferring and sharing content online.

I am a Commerce, Computer and Law graduate. I am running my own IT Company since 1993. I like to Read, explore Hindu Sanskruti, Travelling and Riding/Driving.

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