Snapchat:  Another Dangerous Social Media Platform for Youth

Snapchat has gained immense popularity among kids and teens as a simple and fun way to share their daily moments with friends. However, its apparent appeal is masking the dangers that come with the platform. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where your posts remain on your profile indefinitely, Snapchat uses messages that are meant to disappear.

But even with this temporary nature, Snapchat poses significant risks to youths. One of the biggest dangers of Snapchat is the potential for exposure to inappropriate or harmful content.

You can block inappropriate content on Snapchat.  The feature can be enabled by selecting “Restrict Sensitive Content” within the Family Center settings.   Snap notes that enabling the feature won’t restrict the content your child can view elsewhere on the app outside of Snapchat’s Stories and Spotlight sections, such as Chat, Snaps, and Search.

Children and young people can be easily exposed to upsetting images or videos, which can have severe mental health impacts, including anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Additionally, Snapchat’s ‘Map’ feature can disclose users’ locations to other users on the app, putting them at risk of unwanted contact.

Snapchat also creates pressure on youth to share and chat. The app’s focus on instant gratification and high levels of engagement can lead to a culture of constant communication, which can be overwhelming and detrimental to mental health. The pressure to share content and chat with others can also lead to cyberbullying, which is a prevalent issue on the platform.

Despite these dangers, Snapchat has no age verification, making it easy for kids under 13 to sign up. Common Sense Media rates Snapchat as OK for teens 16 and up, primarily because of the exposure to age-inappropriate content and the marketing ploys, such as quizzes, that collect data.

Parents should take the necessary measures as most children are not mature enough to handle explicit content.   They need to understand the potential impact of what they post. It is also important to educate children about online safety and how to navigate potential dangers on social media.

Snapchat may seem like a harmless and fun platform for kids and teens to share their daily moments. However, the dangers of exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and pressure to share and chat make it a dangerous platform for youth. Parents must take an active role in monitoring their children’s social media use and educating them about the potential dangers of Snapchat.