What is Snapchat? An app review for parents
Snapchat is a popular social media platform for both youth and adults. It is so popular it is reported that Facebook tried to purchase Snapchat for an estimated $3 billion dollars. Snapchat declined the offer. Since then Facebook has created a similar application called Slingshot. We will review Slingshot in a future post. I encourage all parents to talk with their children about online safety often and to review the applications on their devices at least every week. Snapchat is free and available in iOS and Android devices.
What is Snapchat?
Problems: Sexting, sexting Lingo and the illusion of deletion
Parents should be aware that sexting with this application is popular. Sending private messages with the application makes it difficult for parents to monitor what is being shared because the items disappear before a parent can properly review them. Users have also created lingo to help them communicate through the app that may have most parents scratching their heads. Here is a brief list of what numbers and symbols may mean to give you an idea of what to watch for if your child uses this app.
- MOS- Mom Over Shoulder
- 8 – Oral Sex
- 9 – Parent Watching
- 99 – Parent Gone
- CD9 – Parents Are Around
- GNOC – Get Naked On Cam
- LMIRL – Let’s Meet In Real Life
- TDTM – Talk Dirty To Me
- NIFOC – Nude In Front Of Computer
- PAW – Parents Are Watching
- PAL – Parents Are Listening
The application guarantees deletion of the “snap” however anyone can take a screenshot of an item. Snapchat has made it more difficult by providing notification to the user that someone took a screenshot of the item, however, there are hacks available online that allow people to save snapchat conversations, videos and images without notifying the user. Nothing online is completely deleted. Children need to understand this principle when dealing with items over social media.
I gave the social media application a 3-star rating. Largely the app is used for appropriate reasons. There is a growing amount of young adults who use the application to share moments of their lives without problems or concerns.
- Possible sexting.
- Deletion of items before parents can review what is being shared.
- Private communications that may be inappropriate and even illegal.
- The nature of the app makes monitoring very difficult.
Safety begins at home
Parents should consider implementing the following rules related to electronic devices:
- The ability to review phones or devices that have apps at any time.
- The understanding that parents can delete or take away applications that are inappropriate.
- A Monthly review of online safety practices.
- Appropriate time limits for children using devices.
If you find that your child is using Snapchat, please talk to them. Use the skill of Effective Communication to set some rules and expectations about social media etiquette. You can also use the skill of Decision Making to help your children know how to make better decisions regarding their social media use and what to do if they encounter something inappropriate.