Snapchat is a multimedia messaging application that lets users chat with friends, share photos and videos called snaps using various filters, effects, and lenses. Developed by Snapchat Inc. in 2011 has gained a lot of popularity with 293 million active users as of March 2021.
Snapchat was initially developed as a private photo-sharing app. Later, it added messaging, video chat, games, and many more features. It is most popular among youngsters. But there’s no doubt that its popularity is increasing, and so its risk. As a result, many people are concerned about how it works? Is Snapchat safe to use? So, I have explained everything that you need to know about Snapchat and if it is appropriate to use.
How Does Snapchat Work?
First, install Snapchat and sign up using your valid email and password. Once you are logged in, you can either upload your contacts or search for individuals you know to add people and make friends. Each Snapchat user is provided with a Snapcode, a distinctive and unique QR code that allows them to add others by scanning it.
Snapchat is all about snaps and streaks. If you want to know how it works first, you need to have a clear idea of snaps. Snaps (pictures and videos) are more commonly used on Snapchat than text messages to initiate conversations. To send a snap, tap the camera circle, capture a picture, and then send it to your friends to start a chat. And streaks count the number of days that two persons have sent each other Snaps in a row. Here are some other features of Snapchat that make it different from other social media.
With Snap Map, you can share your location with everyone on your friend list. It is pretty helpful while meeting friends as you can easily see where they are. Since you can share your location, sometimes kids can be exposed to unknown users, which is a significant risk. If you don’t want to share location, you can use “ghost mode,” where you can turn off your snap map and still see your friend’s locations.
Snapchat offers a wide range of lenses and filters for its users. With the Snapchat filter, users can add different colorations, images, messages, and makeup to your original photo. You can also create Snapchat filters and lenses to take photos. Snapchat lenses automatically add backgrounds, text, sometimes even transform the subject. The most popular Snapchat lenses include dog filters, anime filters, and more.
Like other social media platforms, it also provides a chat feature. Users can communicate with their friends through text, voice, and video chats. While sending snaps to your friends, you can set time limits in the snaps so that they will disappear after it’s viewed. This feature makes Snapchat unique and popular amongst other social media. You can also create groups on Snapchat, where everyone in the group may communicate and add group stories.
Spotlight is an explore section on Snapchat. Snapchat lets users discover the most entertaining and popular snaps in this section. The spotlight feature is used for promoting short videos, popular snaps from the Snapchat community. This feature is similar to TikTok, but your spotlight video won’t have any comment section, and users won’t see your name unless you have a public profile.
Snapchat memories allow users to store photos and videos as a memory so that they do not disappear after a specific time. Snaps and stories are stores on the memories tab, and you can view, edit, repost on your Snapchat story or save it to your device.
Snap story is a collection of photos and videos that are like mini-documentaries of your daily activities. You can also add your photos and videos to your story or send them to anyone on your friend list as a day-by-day record that your friends may watch for 24 hours.
What is an appropriate age to be on Snapchat?
According to Snapchat’s terms and conditions, users must be at least 13 or older. But it does not verify age upon signing in, so kids can lie about their age to create an account. To use some other features on Snapchat like spotlights, discover, attaching payment, you will need to be at least 18 years old. In the Discover section, younger kids may come across many inappropriate and explicit content that is unsuitable for them.
Is Snapchat Safe?
Most people use Snapchat because it is entertaining as it offers funny filters and lenses. We all know that Snapchat is most popular among teenagers and kids. But there are some risks like sharing personal information, location with all people on your friends’ list. And also, it does not verify user’s age that means kids can easily use Snapchat. Moreover, kids are more likely to be exposed to inappropriate content. Here are some potential dangers that you need to know.
With the Snap map feature, the people on your friend list can easily track your location. This feature can lead to a severe problem if someone is stalking you; they can use Snap Map to find where you live, work, and other personal information.
Snapstreak is a feature used to count the number of snap users send to each other within 24 hours in a row. As long as users maintain their Snapstreaks, they can use new emojis. Snapstreaks are like a Snapchat score, and people start to compare their snap streaks which can create unhealthy competition among kids. As a result, it is possible that teenagers will become addicted to Snapchat.
Though Snapchat messages disappear once the recipient views it, sometimes people can take screenshots of your snap. They might also use third-party software to record the screen of what you have sent to them. So you must be careful about what you share on Snapchat.
How to be safe on Snapchat?
With the right privacy setting, you can be safe on Snapchat to some extent. When you are on social media, try not to share too much personal information and do not accept Follow requests from unknown people. Here are some ways on how to change privacy settings.
Step 1: Open Snapchat, click on the icon located at the top-right corner of your screen.
Step 2: Go to the “Who Can” section, click on “See My Location.” The default is set to “My friends.” You can change this setting to “Only me” to disable location.
Step 3: You can also enable “Ghost Mode” so no one can view your location but you can view other people’s locations.
Step 1: Open Snapchat, click on the gear icon.
Step 2: Click on contact me and select “My friends.”
Step 3: Now, go to the “Who can” section and click on “View My Story.” Select My Friends so only your friends will be able to see the snaps you share.
Step 4: Go to the “show me on quick add.” Toggle switch to disable the setting. If you disable it, other users will have to search you by your username to add you as a friend.
If your child uses Snapchat without your supervision, you can use different parental control apps to monitor their activities. There are various parental control apps available on the market. However, MobileSpy is one of the best solutions to track your kid’s activities. You can also limit their app usage and block inappropriate content as well.
Snapchat is a useful and fun app if used safely. It is similar to other social media that is used to connect and interact with friends and new people. Its snaps and snap streaks are the unique feature that makes it different from other social media platforms. However, when you use social media sites, there is always a risk. So, please follow the steps outlined above to keep yourself and your children safe when using Snapchat.