Social networks, apps and games
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Snapchat

The Snapchat app lets you send photos, short videos or messages to your friends. Pictures and videos, known as 'Snaps', usually appear temporarily before disappearing, though they can be captured via screenshots.

13+

Official age rating

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Our safety ratings

Overall safety rating:

Our overall rating for Snapchat

Average

Snapchat doesn’t use any safety filters or moderators to stop inappropriate content from being shared on the app. A moderator is someone who reviews a piece of content before it gets published to check it doesn’t violate the app or site's Community Guidelines.

This means your child might come across something that upsets or worries them.

There are some safety and privacy settings that can help keep your child safer, so it's important parents and carers take the time to explore these with their child and check them regularly.

 

Safety features

Snapchat's Safety Centre has information on how to report inappropriate content, as well as tips for staying safe. There's no parental controls section but there is clear guidance for parents and educators on how to help keep children safe.

If someone under the age of 13 tries to sign up they won’t be able to set up an account. The app also remembers your device, so if you try and sign up again using a different age it won’t let you.

Privacy & location

Accounts are set to private when you first sign up and only people on your friends list can see your 'Snaps'.

When you sign up for an account you need to include a phone number which you can then use to help you add friends on the app. This is hidden from other users.

In settings, under the 'additional services' section you can also edit who can contact you, view your 'Stories' and see your location.

Snapchat has a feature called ‘Snap Map’ that tracks your exact location so your friends on the app can see where you are. Your location automatically updates when you open the app. You can edit who you share your location with or disable this feature completely in settings.

Snapchat has more information on privacy settings on their website

Reporting & blocking

The reporting and blocking features are simple and easy to use.

You have the option to report, block or remove someone as a friend. You can also report individual 'Stories' (videos) and choose from a list of options as to why you're reporting.

Content

Using the Discover screen, you can watch 'Stories' from friends, celebrities and brands. We did come across some low-level violence and sexualised content on the app which some children might find upsetting.

When inappropriate content gets reported on the app it’s reviewed against Snapchat’s Community Guidelines. This means that not everything that gets reported will get deleted and kids might still come across content they find upsetting.

 

O2 Guru top tip

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Turn on 'ghost-mode'

Show your child how to turn on 'ghost-mode' in the app settings to hide their location from other users.

Top tips for staying safe

Sitting down with your child and exploring their favourite app or game is a great way for you to learn more about what they like to do online.

You can ask them why they like to use an app or play certain games, as well as who they’re talking to and what sorts of things they’re sharing.

You can also read our Net Aware reviews for tips on how to keep kids safe on popular apps, sites and games.

It’s important to check the privacy settings on your child’s Snapchat account to make sure what they’re posting is kept private or shared only with friends.  

We recommend only sharing things with friends and always keeping your location private.  

You can visit Snapchat Support for specific information on privacy settings 

Your child might receive upsetting or negative things from other users on Snapchat. If this happens, they might want to report or block them. 

Snapchat Support has specific guidance on how to remove and block friends 

And remember to let your child know that they can always talk to you about worrying things they see online.  

‘Stories’ is Snapchat’s most popular feature and encourages you to share images and videos know as ‘Snaps’ with people who follow you. These ‘Snaps’ are uploaded in a sequence and stay on your account for 24 hours.

You should help your child think about what they’re sharing on the app and who sees it. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline. Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You shouldn’t give your number to somebody you don't know on the street. Is somebody online you don't know any different?”

Listen to their answers. And be positive and encouraging.

Remind them that they shouldn’t share private things, such as:
• personal information, like names, other social media accounts or phone numbers
• other people's personal information
• links to join private group chats
• photos of themselves
• photos of their body, such as sexual photos or videos

Remind them that they should only be sharing ‘Snaps’ with people they know and that if anyone private messages them or suggests talking on another messaging platform they should come and tell you.

 

Explain that you understand the internet is a great place to play, create, learn and connect. But remind them they can talk to you if anything upsets or worries them.

Reassure them that you won’t overreact – you’re just looking out for them.

It’s important to remind your child that they can talk you, another adult they trust, like a teacher, or Childline about anything they see online.

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Talking to your child

Having open, regular conversations with your child will help you to really understand and explore the online world together. Our tips and advice can help you start these conversations.

Talk about staying safe online

What kids and parents are saying about Snapchat

We've spoken to over 2,000 parents and kids to find out what they think.

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Kids

What do children and young people dislike about Snapchat? 

  • It shares your location if you don’t use ‘ghost mode’ 
  • People can screen shot images you share 
  • You can get messages or requests for sexual images from people you don’t know 
  • It can be used for bullying 

Anyone could screenshot photos you put on your story on the app or anyone can message you.

Girl, 16 

What do children and young people like about Snapchat? 

  • Talking to friends and sending them videos or pictures 
  • Being able to choose who can see your Snaps 

You can get in contact with your friends easily and send funny pics and vids.

Girl, 13 

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Parents

We asked parents about the following areas of Snapchat: 

Reporting and blocking 

Overall, parents thought it was easy to report unsuitable content or behaviour and block people from contacting you.  

I was able to block a user easily by clicking on the person and pressing block.

Mum of 4 and 13 year olds

Privacy settings 

Most parents thought it was easy to change the settings so your profile, account and location are private.  

Once you find where these settings are it's easy to do, but it was quite difficult to find the right settings.

Mum of 13 and 16 year old boys 

Safety and support 

It’s very easy to find out about the safety of the app.

Mum of 7 and 10 year olds 

Signing up 

It’s good that both email and phone are verified.

Mum of a 12 year old 

Very easy to do, anyone of any age could do it.

Mum of a 17 year old 

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