10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know about Snapchat

Image via Galit Breen

I was talking to several parents the other day at our school’s crosswalk. Because everyone is so busy these days, I can usually count on only one of two things stopping us all in our tracks long enough to chat: school gossip and the latest app in the hot-seat.

Can you relate?

Our kids are adopting new apps at crazy-fast rates and we’re trying to keep up with them, but it can be hard. 

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Snapchat is a super-popular app that kids are into and parents are wary of because of the disappearing nature of the posts.

While most of us know that our kids can screencap photos and comments and even video live streams, so nothing really disappears, the premise of Snapchat makes us nervous.

It’s important to remember that more often than not, our kids have great intentions and when they ask to use new apps, they’re simply trying to enjoy this digital age.

Snapchat is no exception—the app offers fun filters for kids to use and our youngest of users are usually drawn to this, rather than the disappearing posts!

Instead of turning our kids away from apps because someone on Facebook said that it’s bad, it’s worth digging into the app itself and helping our kids muddle though it all.

To help, here are 10 things parents should know about Snapchat.

  1. Posts on Snapchat are called snaps.
  2. Snapchat is a social media app that allows users to send pictures and videos that it claims exist only 10 seconds or less before “disappearing.” MANY people have shown that not only is this not necessarily true in a technical sense, but in a really basic way, people can photograph, screen grab, download, or video a snap and it lives on just like content from other social sites does.
  3. You get a Snap Score based on how many snaps you send and receive, how often you post, and how often you watch other people’s Stories.
  4. Stories are snaps that have been strung together.
  5. Kids also count how many views they have on their own Stories.
  6. Your Snap Score can be found beneath your barcode on your account page. Kids check and compare things like this and the self-imposed pressure to keep your score high keeps kids engaged with their snaps and feeling badly if it fluctuates.
  7. Kids who use Snapchat regularly are motivated to be on it all the time to keep their score up.
  8. Kids send rapid-fire responses to each other via filtered and cleverly drawn on or emoji-added selfies and really notice and focus on how many days they've been responding back and forth with someone.
  9. These are called streaks.
  10. If streaks are “broken” or not responded to, people notice. People also notice who you have streaks with, and who you don't. 

If your kids or students start using Snapchat, it's worthwhile to take a look at who they have streaks with, how high their score is, and if anything dramatically changes with any of these “stats” for lack of a better word. 

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I have a guide for you that shows exactly how to discuss tricky apps like Snapchat with your kids .

It also explains how to get your kids involved in this process—this increases their “buy in” into your conversation and the chance that they’re listening. This is super important! You can get this guide by clicking right HERE.

Even though it may seem daunting to keep up with all of the app details, I have found that once you figure out a few apps, the skills that your kids need to have to maneuver them, tend to carry over.

So I recommend letting your kids learn about one app at a time and that you learn the ins and outs of it with them.

And if your kids seem to be interested in apps that are new to you, then I hope that this guide is helpful! You can get it by clicking right HERE.

Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple, no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. Your can get her parents’ guide to new app asks right HERE.

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10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know about Snapchat

Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online. She has a master's degree in education and a bachelor's degree in human development and was a classroom and reading teacher for ten years. In 2009, she launched a career as a freelance writer entrenched in social media. Since then, her work has been featured in various online magazines including Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, TIME, and xoJane. Breen lives in Minnesota with her h ... More

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