The number of websites and applications that allow people to communicate on social networks continues to grow, and new ones appear every day.
Most application developers target the 13-25 age group, which is the largest market of smartphones and other social networking devices.
While these applications are designed for adults, young people and even children will inevitably download and use them.
The fact that children can download and use almost any application these days does not mean that they have the presence of mind to consider whether the application is age-appropriate or safe.
One app that is regularly unsafe or misused by teens is Snapchat.
Snapchat is an app that allows you to send photos or videos for fun.
Developed by Stanford University students; Evan Spiegel, Reggie Brown, and Bobby Murphy, the app is available for iPhone and iPad and on Android smartphones and tablets.
Snapchat allows its users to chat with their friends through text, photo, or video messages.
How does Snapchat work?
Once the application is downloaded and installed on a cell phone or tablet, the user creates a username and password.
The application then scans the user’s phonebook and offers to add or invite friends to join their Snapchat, whether they have the application themselves or not.
Then, users share their most intense or funniest moments through texts, photos, or short videos.
All these files sent through the application are also called “snaps.” There is also a system that allows you to put snaps together to create a story that can be viewed by other members of the application when they are invited.
But the most important feature of Snapchat is that the user can set a period during which the photo or video sent will be viewable by its recipient.
Once the file is viewed or read, it is permanently deleted and will never be available again after the time limit chosen by the user who sent the snap.
Why is Snapchat so successful?
Within just a few months of its launch in 2005, Snapchat allowed its users to send nearly 2 million videos and photos daily.
The number of videos quickly grew to 7 million snaps, and stories were shared each day in 2021.
Users of the app enjoy following certain accounts through their stories and how their lives evolve, and those who make videos generally like the fact that they can’t be harmed in the future because they won’t be visible for analysis or criticism.
Snapchat is often used to make quick, teasing, or weird remarks, especially when users aren’t sure if they’ll be well accepted by the recipient or not.
The application wins over most users because it is easy to install, configure and use. Once installed, the software automatically searches for other friends who have the app using the contact lists of the phone and social networks.
Users’ privacy is also respected since they can send text, photo, or video messages to their friends, which self-destruct quickly.
Is the application safe for teenagers?
Exposure to bad behavior can quickly corrupt the morals of young people. All too often, teens engage in stunts, dangerous or tasteless challenges to get attention or show their rivals that they are the coolest.
Many teens who have boyfriends also use the app to send naughty messages and photos that should have been kept private. They dare to do this because they know that these “snaps” will disappear once they have been seen.
At first glance, one might think that Snapchat is the right place to do teenage nonsense since the photos and videos shared on the app disappear immediately.
However, the app also somehow encourages stupid and risky behavior, sending young people that such behavior is okay as long as it’s done in a certain way.
The truth is that anyone quick enough to take a picture or screenshot can keep a copy of the secret messages sent to them, and teens who do stupid things and think they’ll always be secret may be in for a nasty surprise.
As a parent, should you be concerned about Snapchat?
There are many reasons why teens want to use Snapchat, and it’s not necessarily to send explicit photos that disappear right after they’re opened.
Not all app users have something to hide; they find it convenient that they can send something that won’t be scanned and replayed later to come and annoy them, and that a moment of inattention won’t necessarily be used against them in the future.
The app isn’t just for sharing questionable activities. Still, as a parent, you should be aware that it’s a great way to communicate or share exactly the kind of information that parents should be wary of and worried about.
The software is regularly used to share photos or videos of drunken nonsense, inform other teens about drugs, or send explicit images to partners.
Parents who want to ensure their children have a bright future should make sure they know whether or not their children are using this application.
How to protect your children?
Snapchat is an application that anyone can download from any tablet or smartphone, regardless of the user’s age.
Parents who want to protect their children from the dangers of the Internet and the use of new gadgets such as smartphones and tablets must first understand how they work to prevent their misuse.
Children should talk to their parents about anything they do on the device they are using.
Likewise, parents should not hesitate to ask questions about their children’s applications and how they can use and understand them better.
By doing this, parents can find out if their children are involved with bad people or cyberbullying.
Informed parents are also better able to know whether or not they can let their kids use apps like Snapchat.
There is also a way to keep track of what your underage children are doing on their phones and tablets that is both impossible to circumvent and simple.
This is monitoring and parental control software such as Mspy. By installing such software on your children’s devices, you can get detailed reports on who your children are communicating with, what sites they are visiting, what apps they are using, and what kind of media files they are keeping on their phones.
Using spyware of this type, it is possible to log into a private online space from any computer, tablet or smartphone, and see everything your child is doing with the device you have entrusted to them. A great way to see if he betrays your trust.