Zift Description

About Snapchat
In-App Purchases
yes
Rating
Teen

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo and video sharing app that lets users send recorded media to their friends.


The unique thing about Snapchat is that everything posted or "snapped" within the app disappears


This has the dual purpose of safeguarding a degree of privacy, while encouraging regular engagement with the platform; if you miss something, it's actually gone. 


The photos and videos that are sent disappear after an allotted time. 


The features offered in this app are:


  • Photo or Video sharing
  • Direct Messages (or DM's)
  • Chats
  • Branded "Discover" content
  • Stories & Top Stories
  • Snap Map location tracking
  • Context Cards


With Direct Messages, users choose to send their photos for any time between 1-10 seconds, or can allow their recipients to view it for as long as they want until they close out of the picture. 


Videos will either play for the length of the video or can be set up to loop continuously until closed. Text chats disappear after the chat window is closed.


The app also has a big branding network, which allows companies to engage with consumers through photos, videos, and articles. Within the Discover section, users can explore content from Daily Mail, The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, and more. Content in Discover can be anything from news and sport to celebrity gossip and makeup tips. 


Snapchat Stories allow users to update their whole friends list at one time and disappear after 24 hours. 


In the Top Stories section, users can see the most popular stories locally, nationally, and globally, as well as by topics such as music, animals, and nightclubs. A new addition to the app is the optional feature Snap Map, on which users can see their friends' real-time location.


Users in the same location can create a shared Story that anyone in the same place can add to, like at a sports game or party. 


When a Story features a business or restaurant, users can swipe up to see Context Cards that give information like location, hours, and reviews.

Is Snapchat safe for my kids?

SnapChat is only safe for mature teens who are able to navigate the privacy and accountability issues created by modern social media networks. 

Snapchat is focused on sharing photos and videos and can easily have an audience of semi-anonymous followers watching your posts. This makes us caution to recommend for kids it because there is a potential for abuse or misuse of a user's content.

Parents should know that users are able to send inappropriate photos/videos in Snapchat, and while those posts disappear, users can screenshot items from their feed. 

The positive side of “screenshotting” is that users are notified when someone takes a screenshot of their post, so they are aware that it could potentially be shared outside of the platform.

Users can chat and interact with anyone who knows their username, so parents should monitor their child’s engagement on the platform. As the feed appears in real-time, and disappears in a matter of seconds, users can also inadvertently be exposed to mature or explicit content and language.

Snap Map is a newer feature that may not be safe for kids because it shows a user's specific location to everyone in their friends list. Snap Map visibility is automatically turned on, though it does have a Ghost Mode setting, which the user will need to enable manually under their settings. 

Besides the Ghost Mode setting, users also have the choice to allow all of their friends to see their location, or they can choose to allow only specific friends to them on the Snap Map. 

Before installing Snapchat, parents may want to chat with their kids to establish clear expectations regarding what is and isn't appropriate to share on social networks and to help them understand how to protect their privacy in semi-anonymous online social spaces.

What Parents Need To Know

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