Snapchat safety - top tips for keeping children safe from bullying and sexual exploitation on Snapchat

What is Snapchat and how can parents ensure children are safe? Here are some top tips for Snap safety.

Thursday, 6th June 2019, 12:05 pm
Snapchat is hugely popular among children and young people. Picture: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

Snapchat is one of the most popular social media apps among children and young people today, so it's important to know how to stay safe.

Every day police in the UK investigate three new cases of child sexual exploitation on Snapchat, figures say.

Children are at 'high risk' of bullying on the platform, according to the NSPCC.

Snapchat is hugely popular among children and young people. Picture: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images

What is Snapchat and how does the Snap Map work?

Snapchat allows users to share pictures, videos and messages - known as snaps - with friends, usually available for a matter of seconds before they disappear.

There is also a feature called ‘Snapstory’ where posts can be seen by more than one person for up to 24 hours.

Controversially, the app can also show the location of users on a map every time they open Snapchat, which has led to controversy. This setting is off by default, the company says.

Snapchat has a minimum age limit of 13. Picture: CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images

Snapchat say the best way to take action over inappropriate posts on the platform is to use the in-app reporting function (see below).

What are some top tips for keeping safe on Snapchat?

- Snaps do not necessarily disappear - Although Snaps are meant to disappear from the app after a short time, friends can take a screenshot or take a picture with another device. This allows them to share the image themselves in future.

- Snap Map - Check who can view your child's location on Snap Map by going into privacy settings. You can enable Ghost Mode to hide your location.

- Age minimum - Snapchat was made for people aged 13 and above. If you have a child under 13 using Snapchat, contact the company with your child’s username and verification of your relationship.

- Privacy settings - Check privacy settings to choose who can send your child Snaps or view their Stories.

- Friends - Be careful about adding anyone you don't know in real life on Snapchat.

- Start a conversation with your child - According to the NSPCC, 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.

- Report safety concerns - If you come across something upsetting, or if anyone asks the Snapchat user to do something inappropriate or that makes them uncomfortable, report it to Snapchat and police. To report to Snapchat, press and hold on whatever Snap you’re viewing, and then tap to contact them. You can also report a Snapchat safety concern on the web.

- Bullying: if someone is bullying or harassing you or your child, report the Snap to Snapchat and police – and have a conversation with your child about it. You can also always block that person and leave any group chat where bullying is taking place.

- Password security - make sure your child keeps their password safe and doesn't share it with any other people, applications or websites under any circumstances. Snapchat also suggests using a different password for every service you use.

- Reporting Stories on Discover - If you come across something inappropriate on Discover, press and hold on the inappropriate Snap, and tap to report it.

What are parents saying about Snapchat?

Parents of young children on Snapchat spoke to the NSPCC about their experience with the app.

“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 ten and 15-year-olds

“The filters are fun, but always make sure to set privacy settings so that only friends can see.” – Father of eight and ten-year-olds

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

More information

For more information about Snapchat, visit the NSPCC's website.

Have any more tips? Please get in touch!