What do I need to know about Snapchat?

We've spoken to parents to find out what they think about Snapchat. We've also asked children and young people what they think. Here's what they said:

Children’s views

What do children and young people dislike about it?

14% of the children and young people who reviewed Snapchat thought it was unsafe. The main things they told us they don’t like about Snapchat were:

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

What do children and young people like about it?

The main things that children and young people told us they like about Snapchat were:

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

Is content on Snapchat suitable for children and young people?

We asked parents and young people about the types of inappropriate content they’ve seen on Snapchat. The level of risk is based on the % of respondents who reported seeing these types of content. The ratings are: Low Risk (less than 5% of respondents); Medium Risk (between 5 and 25%); and High Risk (over 25%, or more than one in four).


High Risk

Violence & hatred

Medium Risk


High Risk

Suicide & self-harm

Medium Risk

Drink, drugs & crime

Medium Risk

What are people saying about

Girl, 13

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

Girl, 16

“Snapmaps shows exactly where you are unless you turn it off. Messages can disappear unless saved, meaning bullying can be hidden.”

Girl, 16

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


“I'd say it’s fun but make sure children are “ghosts” so people don’t know their location. Also advise them to only have friends and family on there.” – Mother of 10 and 15 yr olds


“The filters are fun, but always make sure to set privacy settings so that only friends can see.” – Father of 8 and 10 yr olds


“Screenshots can become a large issue. Many users don't expect the receiver to screenshot their snaps.” – Mother of an 18 yr old daughter


"Snap Inc. is a camera company. We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate. Our products empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together."

O2 Guru’s Top Tip for Snapchat

O2 Guru Camila says:

"You can hide your location in Snapchat by turning on Ghost Mode in Settings, then See My Location."

Our O2 NSPCC Online Safety Helpline can help you to set up parental controls, adjust privacy settings or get advice on social networks. You can call us free on 0808 800 5002.

For face to face advice and support, you can also book a free in-store appointment with an O2 Guru here (even if you’re not with O2). 


What's the right age for Snapchat?


Snapchat says

This is taken from Snapchat’s own guidelines and is accurate as of March 2018.


Our panel of parents say

Based on our independent panel of 2,049 parents, surveyed through YouGov in January 2018.


Children say

Based on 2,059 responses from children and young people in November and December 2017.


Net Aware visitors say

Based on 6059 votes from visitors to the Net Aware site – you can vote too.

What do you think?

Adjust the slider and tell us what you think is the right age to join Snapchat:


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Start a conversation with your child
about Snapchat

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

There are some things that it’s best not to share with others, can you think what they might be?

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