What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a popular messaging app that allows users to exchange images and videos (called snaps) that “disappear” after they’re viewed. In their advertisements they define it as a “new type of camera” because its main function is to allow users to take a photo or video, add filters, lenses or other effects and share them with friends.
How does Snapchat work?
All you need to sign up is your name, an email address, and your date of birth. On Snapchat, users use pseudonyms, and Snapchatters often give themselves funny names. To add friends, you can upload your mobile contacts or search for people you know. You can also automatically add someone by taking a photo of their “Snapcode”, a QR code unique to each user.
After that, things get a bit confusing. On Snapchat, photos, not text, usually initiate communication. To start a conversation, tap the big camera circle and take a photo. There are all kinds of photo editing tools (you have to experiment with them to find out what they do), as well as filters to dress up your images. Once you customize your photo, you can send it to anyone on your friends list or add it to your story, which is a 24-hour record of the day your friends can view, and add them to Snap Map, which displays your photo on a map with your location that can be seen by others on Snapchat.
In addition to individual texting, Snapchat also offers group texting and group stories that everyone in a group can contribute to. You can delete the text messages you send, although in a group chat other people will see that you have deleted something. With regard to photos, you can delete those that have not been opened and that use an image that you have saved (not taken at the moment). It’s not possible to delete photos you just took (and didn’t save).
What is the minimum age required to use Snapchat?
Under the terms of service, users must be at least 13 years of age. You must enter your date of birth to open an account, but age is not verified, so it’s easy for children under 13 to sign up. Common Sense Media rates Snapchat as suitable for teens 16 and older, primarily due to exposure to inappropriate content for younger teens and advertising strategies, such as quizzes, that collect information.
Do messages really disappear on Snapchat?
Depends. If you set a time limit on a photo, it will disappear after being viewed. However, recipients can take a screenshot of an image using their phones or a third-party screenshot app. The phone screenshot will notify the sender that the image was captured. But external apps do not send notifications. For these reasons, it’s best for teens to understand that nothing they do online is truly temporary. Before sending a humiliating photo of themselves or someone else, it’s important to remember that the image could be circulated throughout the school the next day.
What are the streaks or “Snapstreaks”?
In Streaks, two users send each other photos at least once a day for three days in a row. When you create a streak, special emojis and stats appear next to the names of the streakers (users participating in the streak) to show you how long you’ve had the streak. Because they are important? For one, they add up to your overall Snapchat score (basically a number that reflects how much you use the app). On the other hand, they can occasionally become very important in the life of a teenager. Due to the intense bonds that children can form through social media, they may feel that a Streak is an indication of the level of their friendship with others and that if they don’t maintain it, they will disappoint the other person.
Teens have even been known to give their friends access to their Snapchat accounts to keep up a good streak if they can’t do it themselves (for example, if their phone is taken away for spending too much time on the internet). This can lead to a sense of peer pressure, anxiety, and compulsion, so it’s good to know if your child is having streaks on Snapchat, because that will give you a chance to understand why that selfie is really important to him/her.
What is the Snap Map?
Snaps map shows your location on a map in real time. Only your Snapchat friends can see where you are. If your friends have turned on their Snap maps, you can see their locations too. (You can disable it or use it in Ghost mode, which allows you to see the map, but not be seen by others.) The Snaps map also features world news and events, for example a political rally in Nicaragua, displayed as an icon on a world map. The biggest risk of the Snaps map is that a teenager has their location turned on so that it can be seen by all their friends, since some of their Snapchat contacts may not be real friends. Unless there’s a specific event for which it’s easier for friends to know each other’s location, it’s best to stop using Snap maps or use them in Ghost mode.
What is a Snapchat Story?
A Story is a collection of moments in the form of images and videos that together create a narrative. (After Snapchat popularized the format, other social networking services, like Facebook and Instagram, began offering story creation tools as well.) On Snapchat, stories appear in the form of circles, and when you tap on them, they automatically play the images or videos the user created. You can create personal stories that your friends can view during a 24-hour period. Or, if you think your photo is particularly interesting or newsworthy, you can submit it to “Our Stories.” “Our stories” are like mini-documentaries of events, holidays, championships, and other things that happen in the world on a particular day. The company saves and collects the photos. While it sounds great to have your story added to “Our Stories,” it also becomes very public, so kids should think twice before submitting one.
What is a Snapcode?
When you sign up, Snapchat provides you with your own unique QR code. When you meet a Snapchat user and want to become their friend, you can take a photo of the other person’s code, and it will automatically be added to your friend list. Because it’s so easy to find friends on Snapchat (depending on your settings) or exchange codes, teens can end up with strangers on their friends list. For a variety of reasons, that can be risky, so it’s best to talk to your teen about when it’s safe to add people.
What is Discover?
Discover (“Discover”) offers content created by celebrities, news and entertainment platforms, and other users. You can subscribe to specific “Discover” sources to receive their feeds [messages]. While “Discover” does offer some news from serious publishers like the New York Times and Vice Media, the offers can be promotional and often overblown (such as people with extreme plastic surgeries or rare medical problems), but if your child has signed up With your correct date of birth, you won’t receive ads for alcohol and other adult content that Snapchat filters for underage users. “Discover” stories often have promos that prompt kids to “swipe up” for more information (which usually leads to more banner ads) or to fill out a quiz (which is usually a marketing tool). A range of content is found in this section, from harmless to shocking, so it’s good to check it out and get an idea of what your kids are watching.