Snapchat Monitoring: What Parents Need to Know

The Bark Team | November 28, 2017 | Social Media Monitoring

What is Snapchat? 

Snapchat is one of the biggest messaging and social media apps that tweens and teens are using, and it’s not hard to understand why. But is Snapchat safe? The app has a lot of fun and positive things going for it. With Snapchat you can create silly pictures and send them to friends with a few clicks of a button. These aren’t the perfectly taken and curated photos for Instagram, they are the candid and funny moments of everyday life. Another reason the app is so popular is the intrinsic ephemeral nature of the message system. Individual Snaps disappear after viewing and stories disappear after 24 hours. Need a vocabulary cheat sheet? Click on the link and get caught up on Snapchat lingo.

What is SnapMap?

Snap Map is a feature on Snapchat that shows you where your friends are as they compose Snaps, lets you communicate with friends directly via the map, and shows certain public events happening around the world and who is talking about them.

If your tween or teen creates a Snap that gives out personal information and they send it to “Our Story”, it can be seen by the entire community and then possibly put on the World Snap Map with whatever personal information your child has shared.

***We will let that sink in for a minute.***

Why Are Kids Obsessed with Snapchat?

As teens continue to turn their backs on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, they’re signing up for Snapchat at an equally accelerated rate.

Snapchat gives teens two things that they believe are important in social apps.

  • A messaging-based platform – Teens are drawn to social apps and networks that are based on messaging rather than the news-feed style of Facebook or Twitter. That makes Snapchat perfect; they choose who to socialize with and what to send.
  • Unique (and fun) photo filters – While many social apps offer photo filters, kids say Snapchat offers more variety and is easier to use. They have fun editing photos of their friends, sharing them, and laughing together.

When it comes to Snapchat, there’s good news, and there’s bad news. The good news is that most kids seem to be using Snapchat appropriately. The bad news is that online predators can and will infiltrate the social networks where teens tend to hang out. Furthermore, just because kids are generally using it appropriately doesn’t mean parents can be hands off.

Is Snapchat Safe?

As with almost all online interactions such as social media apps and text messages, there is the potential for harmful content to be shared, most especially cyberbullying and sexting are potential abuses with the Snapchat app. Because the images disappear after a short time, some kids may be tempted to send hurtful messages or sext nude images of themselves, thinking that they won’t get caught and there will be no consequences. 

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The recipient can take screenshots of the images they receive, which can be used maliciously or even shared with others. Or they can be simply recorded using an iOS 10 platform screen recording option and then shared. Additionally, these images and videos can be hidden in vault apps making it hard to find them and make sure they are deleted. Often the malicious use of received nudes are used in revenge porn and can have a lasting detrimental effect on a teen, both socially and emotionally.

Do you think your teen is sexting on Snapchat? Unsure? Check out the 5 signs they might be sexting using Snapchat.

Another area of concern are privacy issues. While the default setting is a private account, where only added friends can send users a Snap or view their Stories, the privacy setting can be switched to public and then anyone and everyone can send a user a Snap or view their Stories. Additionally, the video chatting feature allows for one-on-one interactions that are cleared once the user leaves the video chat. 

How to Talk to Your Kids about Snapchat Safety

There are ways to reduce risky behavior online and the first one is to talk about these risks. Although Snapchat certainly has fun features, it’s important to discuss safety with kids – especially with preteens and teens who have their own mobile phones. Here’s the 5 areas of concern about Snapchat you should speak with your tweens and teens about to help keep them safer online.

How to Monitor Snapchat?

Although Snapchat can be a lot of fun for preteens and teens as it gives them a means of keeping in touch with friends, it is vital that your kids learn to use Snapchat appropriately to stay safe. Add your child’s Snapchat to  scan their public and private Snapchat stories. Bark can also monitor Snapchat DMs on Android and Amazon devices. However, Snapchat does not allow external access to DMs on iOS devices. We're continually working to be able to monitor Snapchat on iOS., alerting you to any potentially risky behaviors of cyberbullying, sexting, or online predators. 

About Bark

Bark is a comprehensive online safety solution that empowers families to monitor content, manage screen time, and filter websites to help protect their kids online. Our mission is to give parents and guardians the tools they need to raise kids in the digital age.