Seen recently on Facebook:
Just found out that my daughter has a Snapchat account? Apparently for about a year now!!! How did I not know this??? I knew about the Twitter, YouTube and Instagram but not Snapchat!!! Yep mother of the year!!
Should a 9 year old have Snapchat? Probably not. Like most social media apps, Snapchat is not inherently good or bad. It’s how it’s used that’s significant.
Snapchat has a bad reputation. The idea of it is that you send a picture with or without an associated line of text to a “friend” or “friends”. The picture only lasts on their screen for between 1 and 10 seconds and then it is gone unless the friend screenshots it.
Of course it’s not really gone as nothing on the internet is ever gone but it’s not easy to get your hands on a Snapchat once the 10 seconds is up.
The bad reputation comes from its early use as a sexting app. Some people are perhaps more willing to send compromising photos of themselves if they think they are not permanent. No doubt it is still used by some for sexting but for others it’s just another means of communication.
According to one teenager I interviewed, the attraction is that it’s quick to compose and it doesn’t have to be perfectly crafted because its existence is fleeting.
Nobody’s going to go back and critique your camera angles or your word choice.
By photographing your expression, emotion is conveyed which may not be obvious from the use of words only.
As usual, it’s all about digital citizenship. If Snapchat were banned, people would find another way to achieve their purpose, whether it’s sexting or sending silly faces.
It’s definitely hard for parents to keep up with the latest popular app.
What parents and teachers need to do is keep having conversations with young people who are old enough to make wise choices about who to “friend” or not to “friend” on social media and how to make good decisions about what they post.