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Saturday, December 19, 2015

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat has become a popular messaging application that our kids are using to send and share self-destructing pictures.

Who is using it?

The majority of Snapchat's users are between the ages of 13 - 34 years old. There are over 100,000 users of Snapchat are called "snapchatters," who use the service to send pictures, videos, and stories with other snapchatters. Businesses are even turning to Snapchat as a way to connect with potential customers

What is it? 

Snapchat gained popularity as a messaging application that allows someone to send and receive "snaps" (pictures, drawings, and video) that self-destruct from 1 to 10 seconds. It is very similar to sending and receiving text messages; however, the biggest advantage is that messages self-destruct.

When was it created? Where is it available? 

Snapchat was created in 2011 as a free application available on the iTunes and Android store.

How does it work? 

After you have downloaded the application from the iTunes or Google Play store, you will need to create an account. Once the application is open, it will ask for access to your camera, so that you can begin taking "snaps" or pictures or video. After you have taken a "snap," you have the ability to customize the message, annotate, set the time length (between 1 - 10 seconds), and decide who you are sending it to.

There is also a feed with all of your sent "snaps,"  and "snap" replies known as "snapbacks." There is also a "story" feature, which is a way of sending and grouping multiple "snaps" to a mass group of your friends. It only lasts 24 hours long and disappears after this time.

Items for Parents to Consider:
  • Although not all kids are using it inappropriately, it has been known as a platform for sexting. Make sure that your child realizes what types of pictures should and should not be sent. 
  •  Even though pictures "self-destruct" after a certain amount of time, users could still take screenshots of the picture to save on their phone. 
  • Snapchat has made it easy to add contacts, which can be added from their contact lists and users who are nearby. 
  • A one-to-one chatting feature was recently developed. Once users leave the chat, the chat will disappear unless users decide to save the chat. 
  • Know the privacy settings. By default, anyone who knows your username or phone number can send you a message. A Snapchat account can be customized to accept messages from users on your “My Friends” list in the settings menu.


Good Resources for Parents:

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