Jun 26, 2019
Let's face it - parents are sometimes clueless about what's happening on social media. Even more perplexing can be why kids are attracted to certain apps, like Snapchat.
Not to worry, let me break it down for you.
My word of caution to parents is: if you can't trust your child to act accordingly when you're not looking, they should not be using Snapchat without your supervision.
It's no surprise that teens today use their devices as a "go-to" means of communicating.
The Top 5 Things Parents Don't Understand About Snapchat
- It's not about you.
Kids just want to be kids... this was true for my generation, for today's generation and for generations to come. Remember when you rebelled or kept a secret from your own parents? It's part of growing up and testing the boundaries of independence.
Teens are particularly known to do this and while that may mean it's stress-inducing for parents, it can be healthy for kids' growing sense of identity. Where parents have cause for concern is when they worry for their child's safety, mental health and well-being.
There's an important balance to strike between helicopter parenting and being uninformed of what's going on in your child's life.
- They can be silly.
Facebook has prying eyes that not everyone wants to share their posts with. Instagram has incredibly high standards for how to visually represent your life. Twitter is best for quick thoughts and news updates.
But if kids want to be silly, expressive and creative, Snapchat is the place to go.
Because they are the originators of fun photo filters for the masses, Snapchat is the stomping ground for quick videos & photos (i.e. "snaps") that can be shared quickly and easily without the added pressure of looking "perfect."
- It's not all about sexting.
I'll be honest, as an adult using Snapchat, I've heard of instances where lewd photos were snapped to my friends. Yes, there are people who are gross and send pictures of their privates to their followers, but there are also a lot of people who don't do that.
As with any app, safety from strangers is important and this app is not an exception. And because teens' brains are not fully developed, their impulse controls are out of whack.
- Streaks are what kids "do."
In my day, we had pogs and slap bracelets. Just as inane and time consuming as Snap streaks, but hey, it's what we "did". And while my parents never worried about a pog addiction, they did regulate my time spent watching MTV and talking on the phone.
Streaks (the consecutive posting of snaps in a group chain) are fun, competitive, exciting and, yes, distracting.
I'm not making a case to encourage parents to allow kids to participate in continuous snap streaks, rather just acknowledging that this is something that kids "do."
- Kids are getting news from Snapchat.
I can't in good faith say what percentage of kids are getting their headlines from Snapchat, but Snap Inc. has made a concerted effort recently to enhance its Discover section and recruits content creators, media outlets and influencers to share content here regularly.
With Snap looking to enhance their ad revenue, they also recently launched insights for influencers. Should you worry about kids getting their news from Snapchat? Probably.
There's not a lot of depth to some of the reporting here, though fake news hasn't been a big issue on this platform. However, encouraging kids to seek out fair sources that represent multiple views of topics is a better practice to instill responsible habits.
Want more info about Snapchat? Download our Guide for Parents.