Parents' Guide to

Snapchat

By Chris Morris, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Send moments in photos, watch curated content; use wisely.

Snapchat Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this app.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 354 parent reviews

age 12+

I have a 12 year old daughter and this would have helped me

I have a 12 year old daughter and when she asked me about snapchat my immediate reaction was no. But then I talked to my friend who is a teacher and she said while she has seen snapchat incidents, none of them prevented her from giving her kid snapchat. Certainly not something a responsible kid couldn't handle. This made me rethink. So, I got the app for a week and every day I checked it. Snapchat is made out to be a horror but it had nothing on the more dangerous SM like Instagram. Nothing bad came up. I gave my daughter Snapchat and since then I have been pleased with the results. Since getting Snapchat she has stopped asking me for other social media like instagram which is too dangerous for her and she hasn't been spending any more time on her phone. She has been happier because she can be more in tune with her friends. Snapchat has been good for her social life. Before giving her Snapchat though, I had her set her accounts to private and every so often I take her phone from her and check. Overall I am pleased with the results of Snapchat and trust my daughter to be okay.
age 11+

Trust is number one

I think that if you can trust your child and have a mature child, then this app has is definitely for your kid. I know that their is a dark side of Snapchat but my son uses it casually and has not had any problems (he was 12 when he got it but now he’s 14). I am very anti-social media and really fought with my son for a while and finally let him try out this app. After almost a year of asking I finally let him get it. And I realized that at a certain age keeping your kids away from this can hurt your child more than help them. I hope that parents considering can help be persuaded by this response. But again you have to trust your kid.

Privacy Rating Warning

  • Personal information is not sold or rented to third parties.
  • Personal information is shared for third-party marketing.
  • Personalised advertising is displayed.
  • Data are collected by third-parties for their own purposes.
  • User's information is used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Data profiles are created and used for personalised advertisements.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (354 ):
Kids say (517 ):

At one time it may have sounded like a great way to control images, videos, and texts shared with friends, but exchanges may not involve quite as much automatic security as kids expect. Snapchat still offers some: Kids can, for instance, set Snaps to expire 10 seconds after they're seen. But they also can choose to make messages available indefinitely, and much of the public content seems to be available to view repeatedly. Kids can also hide their location when sharing items by utilizing Ghost mode, but they can't disable the Snap Map feature once they've set it up.

A mix of popular content is showcased in the Spotlight section, including items that are trending due to sounds, topics, or the lenses that were used to make them. Those items are moderated before being posted. Users can combine Snaps with a Remix feature, play original multiplayer games within the app, and video-chat with up to 15 friends at once -- or block or mute individual friends' Stories. Content could end up being shared in a more public way than kids intended, if they aren't clear on the necessary privacy and other settings. Parents may also be concerned kids will use the app to exchange inappropriate content because, if it's set to expire quickly, there'll be no record of it. The app introduced controls in 2022 that give parents some visibility of their child's usage, including who their child has been corresponding with. Parents have to install the app on their phone or other device, though, and the process requires them to link their accounts by adding their child as a friend. Their child then still needs to accept an invitation to opt in to the Family Center functionality, and parents won't be able to see specific content their child has sent or received -- just the people their child is connected to and who they've sent messages, photos, or videos to in the last seven days. Some of the app's features may make kids feel pressured to spend a significant amount of time using it. Snapstreaks, for example, involve trading Snaps within 24 hours over a period of days and may prompt kids to remain tied to their phone. Charms, given to commemorate interactions and relationships, could also serve as an incentive to keep repeatedly sending messages. Rewards of $250 or more are also doled out for highly viewed videos that were submitted to challenges in the Spotlight section. As with any media-sharing tool, teens should be cautious and thoughtful about which images and other items they send using Snapchat -- and also keep in mind that, in actuality, most types of seemingly risk-free messaging likely aren't.

App Details

  • Devices: iPhone , iPod Touch , iPad , Android
  • Subjects: Arts : photography
  • Skills: Communication : multiple forms of expression, Tech Skills : digital creation, social media
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: September 26, 2011
  • Category: Photo & Video
  • Publisher: Snap, Inc.
  • Version: 12.60.0.57
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 12.4 or later; Android 5.0 and up
  • Last updated: January 10, 2024

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