Due to the 2018 Snapchat app update, we’ve refreshed this parent app guide to give parents the latest digital citizenship techniques.
Schools, learn how you can host a Parent University program to your school.
Table of Contents
What is Snapchat?
- Snapchat is a popular photo, video, audio, and live messaging app
- Users can post photos or videos to their “Stories”
- Stories disappear in 24 hours
- Users can watch and comment on other users’ Stories
- A private messaging feature allows users to send private video, audio, or photos to one another
- Filters are a popular aspect of the app, filters create effects over photos/videos (called “Snaps”)
What is a Streak?
- A Streak is given to users who have sent each other Snaps consistently for two days or more
- A fire emoji (🔥) will appear next to a friend’s name along with a number. This indicates that you are on a Streak and the number indicates how many days the Streak has been going
Snapchat predator concerns
According to ABC: Multiple law enforcement agencies came together to solve an investigation where a man was offering indecent proposals to a 14-year-old girl. Tulsa Police Department detectives posed as the intended victim in an undercover operation through Snapchat.[The predator] used the app to contact and ask the girl (who happened to be a Tulsa Police detective) for sexual acts and admitted during the conversations to trying to do the same thing with her earlier in the week.
According to NBC Charlotte: Everyday millions of people hold down that center button on the hottest social media app around, Snapchat. Experts say children maybe prime targets for predators. [Recently] a man was arrested for sending naked pictures through Snapchat to an underage girl.
Snapchat student concerns
According to USA Today: [A student] made a serious error in judgment that directly damaged the future of two students. With one click of a button on his phone, everything changed. Before [the Snap], [the student] was the star quarterback.[The student] made a conscious decision to take a picture in class – an inappropriate picture. [The student] deleted the photo from his phone, but a screenshot from Snapchat was forwarded to more students. The administration brought [the student] into the office the next day at school and [the student was expelled].
Division 1 programs were starting to make contact with the 16-year-old. After [the Snap], [the student] was off the football team and expelled from school. Some friends he’s had since elementary school no longer text or call him. His football recruitment has slowed.
Why should parents care?
- Teens and tweens tend to learn app updates faster than their parents which can lead to risky behavior because students feel that they can hide their behavior from their parents
- Even if you were a Snapchat expert before, parents will have to learn the new layout so they can keep their students safe on the app
- Content in the Discover feed can be inappropriate for tweens and teens
- The app is very popular with students – 54% of US teens report using Snapchat every day. 30% of users use the app because their parents do not
- Due to its temporary nature, many teens might post riskier content on Snapchat than on other social networks
- Anyone with your child’s username can see their Snaps or send them direct messages
- A new feature makes it easier to share content to other platforms (even if the content was originally intended to remain private)
- Understanding the apps your students are using is the best way to ensure they stay safe on social media
- As of January 2018, regular Snapchat account Stories will not be shareable–but if parents become aware of this feature now then they can prepare their student for when this feature is rolled out to every account
Snapchat 2018 Updates
- At the beginning of 2018, Snapchat updated their user interface
- While the app doesn’t look very different, Snapchat did remove the Stories feed
- Now, the app is broken up into 2 feeds: Friends (swipe right) or Discover (swipe left)
- The Friend feed combines Stories with private messages and individual Snaps
- While the Discover feed shows Stories from publishers and the community
- The biggest change is that the Friend feed is no longer in chronological order
- Friends in the Friend feed are ordered by how often a user interacts with them
- The Discover feed prioritizes publishers with subscriptions and then orders by user interest and engagement
- Now, users also have the ability to share Stories to other social platforms
Stories become shareable (January 2018)
A new feature allows users to share Stories to their other social media accounts or through text and email. This new feature lets non Snapchat users see Stories content through a web page. Content shared via a link to a web page will still disappear like regular Stories. Stories are short videos that users share with their friends that disappear after 24 hours. The new feature is not widely available as of this video but Snapchat will slowly be releasing the feature with app updates. If the Story was originally posted from an official account then anyone can share that story via a link to a web page.
Snapchat update in the news
Almost 80% of all tweets about Snapchat are currently negative, with the spike in negative mentions occurring right as the new interface started rolling out to users. The update includes a reformatted layout that can be confusing for some users to access the features they use on a daily basis. –CNBC
Nobody seems to like the update to Snapchat. –USA Today
One of Snapchat’s biggest criticisms has been that the app is too complicated to use. While the majority of Snapchat’s young user base could navigate the product just fine, older users struggled to comprehend the layout. The app’s redesign seems to have frustrated and confused its active young user base, and only time will tell if it has made things easier for older users. –The Daily Beast
Icon & Emoji Guides
The Independent created icon and emoji guides to help users better understand the new update.
What can parents do?
- Join Parent University to watch as I walk you through Snapchat in our membership area
- Become a Snapchat expert so you can be involved with your student on the app and keep them safe
- Know your child’s username, get involved, have discussions, and monitor their Snaps
- If your student can easily navigate the new update, make them the expert and have them teach you more about the app
- Remind your teen that anything they post on social media (including Snapchat) has the ability to last forever
- Demonstrate the ways that negative posts can come back to hurt their reputation in the future
- Remind your teen that it’s okay to be silly and have fun on social media as long as they are positive (with a little bit of gratitude)
- Colleges are okay with a student making fun of themselves, but not others
- Register for Footprint Friday to monitor your student’s online footprint
- Join one of our safety webinars to know how to protect your kids
How do kids use Snapchat?
- Communicate in a quick, silly, and non-permanent way with friends
- Get news from publishers’ stories
- Build and maintain Streaks
- Send private, text-only snaps to friends, that can disappear in 24 hours
Why is the app so popular?
- Posts are temporary and disappear in 24 hours
- If users build a long Streak they will keep posting so they don’t lose their Streak
- The app offers tons of filters and new filters every day
Is Snapchat safe to use?
- When your student has a solid understanding of their online footprint, then Snapchat can be used as a family in a fun and positive way
- If parents get involved and add their child on Snapchat, teens tend to keep their Snaps positive