Snapchat and Snapkidz

What is it?

Snapchat is an app used to send photos and short videos to friends. It's available on all Apple and Android devices. The app is designed so that, once viewed, the photo will 'self-destruct' in a matter of seconds. Snapchat has now introduced SnapKidz for under-13s.

How does it work?

Users create a picture or video with the Snapchat app and select a friend or group of friends to send it to people have to be signed up to Snapchat to receive the messages.

You can choose how long the picture will be available (from 1 to 10 seconds) for viewing. The person receiving the 'snap' presses and holds on the image to view. After the time is up, the picture or video disappears and is no longer available.

What's the difference between Snapchat and SnapKidz?

Basically the app is the same for both, however when you download Snapchat you are prompted to create a user account including your date of birth. If you indicate that you are less than thirteen years old, you automatically get SnapKidz instead of Snapchat. SnapKidz allows you to draw, make messages and videos and do everything Snapchat does, except actually be able to send the message anywhere. Kids know if they pretend to be older they can download the full Snapchat app, making it a pretty easy system to get around.

Why is Snapchat useful?

Very popular with teens Snapchat's most attractive feature aside from its fun add-ons and filters is that theoretically, pictures won't end up tagged, shared or saved by other users, with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. But in reality it's not a protection against your photos being published elsewhere.

What do you need to keep in mind about your children and Snapchat?

Even though the picture disappears, users are still able to screenshot your picture - though the account holder does get a notification by the service of any screenshot taking. Also, Snapchat's own privacy agreement warns that sometimes glitches occur and a picture may not be immediately deleted from their servers.

In regard to privacy, there is a setting which allows only Snapchat 'friends' to send you snaps but you have to manually change the option in your settings from 'Everyone' to 'My Friends'. Users can also block certain friends from sending pictures.

Want to know more?

You can learn more about Snapchat and SnapKidz from this Snapchat Guide for Parents .

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