Social Media: The birth of all evil; or so some say. Sexual predators have been plaguing news headlines for years now and there is a clear correlation between the number of victims and the rise of social medias like Snapchat.
A New Hunting Ground
In case you aren’t aware, Snapchat is a Mobile app that allows users to send video, picture, and text messages to one another, with the sent media expiring after 10 seconds. This allows users to send media that cannot be viewed after the allotted time, which sounds fun and harmless right? Wrong!
While the media giant claims that messages are deleted after the user inputted time, this isn’t exactly true. Nearly all modern devices have the capability to take screenshots (Record whatever is on the screen at a certain time), potentially leading to a betrayal of trust between the sender and recipient.
Worryingly, the number of “revenge porn” and “sexting” cases is on the rise after people decide that it’s ok to send a nude image to a boyfriend/ girlfriend, not knowing that they could potentially save the image and share it later.
Educating Your Child Is Priority #1
It’s incredibly important that we, as parents, educate our children on the do’s and don’ts associated with social medias like Snapchat, hopefully preventing online abuse.
A great ideology to teach your children is: “Would you send this to your grandmother?” If the answer is no, you should seriously consider what you are doing before you press send. Remember, once you send something, there’s always a chance it can come back and bite you. No matter how much you trust the person/ platform you are communicating over, messages can always be recovered.
How can your child stay safe on Snapchat?
1 – Turn on child protection in the app store
Nowadays children are getting mobile phones and smart gadgets from an early age, however, Snapchat is only intended for users over the age of 13. As with all social media platforms, it’s worryingly easy to bypass age restrictions, which is why it’s important that you turn on child protection settings on your device’s app store (This will stop them downloading the app)
2 – Teach self-filtering
Teach your child the thesis I mentioned earlier. “Would you send that to your grandmother?” This will hopefully make them stop and think before they send a message, helping to prevent any issues.
3 – Assist them with safety settings
Make your child set up proper safety settings. Snapchat has a range of safety settings that allow you to stop certain people messaging you, control who views your Story (Pictures that you post publicly for all of your “friends” to see) and hide your real name.
4 – Teach Good password practices
Keep passwords secure and private. Don’t share them with anyone.
Snapchat is a great program for people to communicate. They actively try to help people be safe on their platform. We do not want to discourage anybody from using their program. We aim to raise awareness before anyone let’s their child use the application.
If you would like to read more safety tips related to Snapchat, have a look here: https://www.snapchat.com/safety