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. The Stories feature lets you share Snaps in a sequence for up to 24 hours. Using the Discover screen lets you watch Stories from friends, celebrities and brands.

13+

Official age rating

14+

Parent age rating

What do parents say?
12+

Child age rating

What do children say?

At a glance

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Parents' and children's view of risks...

Sexual

High Risk

Violence & hatred

Medium Risk

Bullying

High Risk

Suicide & self-harm

Medium Risk

Drink, drugs & crime

Medium Risk

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

Exploring apps, sites and games together is a great way to involve your child in the decision-making process.

Be positive about what you see, but also be open about your concerns. Ask them what they think is appropriate and what worries them.

If you decide it’s not appropriate, then make sure you explain your reasons why (and be prepared for an unhappy child).

You might decide it’s ok for your child to use. If so, make sure you follow the tips below to ensure it’s as safe as possible. And work out a time when you’ll next discuss the app.

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.

And if they feel like they can’t speak to you, tell them to talk to an adult they trust, like a teacher or Childline.

Help your child think about what they share online and who sees it. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline.

You might want to start by asking:

  • What kinds of things do you share online?
  • Should we share everything?
  • What shouldn’t we share?

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You wouldn’t give your number to a stranger on the street. Is a stranger online 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 emails, names, phone numbers, school names
  • photos of themselves with strangers
  • photos of their body
  • gossip

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.  

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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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