Snapchat is a mobile photo/video messaging app that allows iphone and android mobile users to send a video or a
photo with a caption to other Snapchat users.
Once a user sends a ‘snap’ it appears on the phone it was sent to for between 1-10 seconds and then disappears. Users can edit photos and draw on photos prior to sending them. The app is free to download and use—so it is popular with kids. If users add snaps to the ‘Your Story’ function their Snapchat ‘friends’ can view their snaps for 24 hours. Users can decide whether only people they have accepted as Snapchat ‘Friends’ can send them Snaps, or ‘Everyone’.
- Is there an age limit for Snapchat?
Snapchat states that it is ‘intended for use by people who are
13 years of age or older, and persons under the age of 13
are prohibited from creating Snapchat accounts’. There is a
version for children under age 13 called Snapkidz which allows
children to take photos and draw on them etc. but does not
allow sending of images. If your child is over 13 you should still
talk through the risks of using Snapchat with them.
- What are the risks?
Many Snapchat users use the service believing that ‘snaps’
can only been seen for a matter of seconds, and that the
snaps are temporary. Whilst ‘snaps’ can only be seen for a
matter of seconds, users can sometimes use the screenshot
function on their device to permanently save and store images.
Other seperate ‘add-on’ apps have also been created that
hook in to Snapchat to permanently save ‘snaps’ without the
If your child enables ‘Everyone’ to send Snaps to them there is
a risk of them being contacted by individuals with ill intent and
of them being exposed to inappropriate content.
As with all social networking, there is a risk of children
receiving inappropriate messages, including bullying or sexual
messages. Talk about the risks of posting sexy pictures,
meeting online friends in person and what is and isn’t
- How can I report unwanted contact on Snapchat?
Snapchat offers a function for the reporting of inappropriate
content, harassment or ‘another safety issue’.
Snapchat has easy to read Community Guidelines which state
what not to snap.
- How can my child protect themselves?
Children should restrict people who can send them ‘snaps’ to
people they know offline. They can do this in their settings.
Go to Settings > Send Me Snaps > Select ‘My Friends’.
then go to Settings > View My Stories > Select ‘My Friends’ or
‘Custom’ to choose selected ‘Friends’.
- Caution your child that the ‘snaps’ they can be captured by
phones simply by using a screenshot and that they are not
- Help your child learn to use screenshots (Search online if
you don’t know how to do this with their phone) so they can
capture any inappropriate ‘snaps’.
- Caution your child about sharing their Facebook, Twitter, Kik,
Instagram details on Snapchat.
- Help your child understand how to report bullying and
inappropriate content. Look at the Settings with them and read
the Support area and Community Guidelines.
- Help them understand appropriate messages and what to
do if a friend or stranger is mean online (save evidence, report
them and delete them from their ‘Snapchat Friends’)
- When should I be worried about my child?
If your child’s behaviour changes at home and/or school you
should talk to them. Examples of changed behaviour could
include disinterest in things they used to like, seeming very
unhappy and/or their sleep and eating is being impacted. Seek
professional advice if necessary from a school counsellor, your
GP or a psychologist. If your child has particular vulnerabilities,
be vigilant about their contacts offline and online. Help them
join groups out of school where they can find friends and
support. Talk to the school and make sure they are supported.
Other platforms you should know about
Where do I go for help?
Kids Helpline provides free, confidential online and phone counselling for 5-25 year olds.
1800 55 1800
eheadspace is for 12-25 year olds in need of support or worried about their mental health.
1800 650 890