Oct. 1, 2016 Update: Snapchat has changed their name to Snap, Inc. They are also venturing into the wearable tech world with their Spectacles. You can read all about them here.
Description: Users “snap” an image or video, add a caption, and send it to friends, who can view the photo for a specified period of time before it disappears. With the July 6, 2016 update described above, it is becoming more like Facebook every day.
Category: Photo/Media Share, Social Networking
APP Store rating: 12+ (“infrequent/mild alcohol, tobacco, drug, mature/suggestive themes, profanity or crude humor, sexual content and nudity”). Users are supposed to be at least 13, in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
“Memories” – In their words, “Memories is a new way to save Snaps and Stories on Snapchat. It’s a personal collection of your favorite moments that lives below the Camera screen.” Snaps that don’t disappear is a significant strategic shift for an app that has been historical ephemeral and proud of it.
“My Eyes Only” – The July 6, 2016 update added the ability to upload photos from your camera roll. Memories also include a section called “My Eyes Only” where you can put embarrassing or explicit snaps, similar to a photo vault. You have to type in a PIN code to access those memories, and if you forget your PIN, Snapchat says they won’t recover the images.
“Discover” – links to articles from BuzzFeed, ESPN, Daily Mail, Cosmo, etc. Articles titled, “23 Pictures That Are Too Real If You’ve Ever Had Sex with a Penis,” images of dolls having sex, and mentions of blowjobs and drugs. Lots of good news. Plenty of filth. Check out these examples I captured on my phone on July 7 (explicit language blotted out my me):
“Snapcash“ – connect a bank account and send cash to friends, or pay for a lap dance.
Revenge Porn – scorned lovers using screenshot naughty photos from an ex to get revenge.
Sexting – Snapchat has always had a reputation for enticing hormonal, spontaneous teens to send inappropriate photos.
Parental Controls – very, very few. Nothing on the phone (e.g., iOS Restrictions) has any impact on the app. But, there are some privacy settings (as explained in the next bullets).
Control who can send you snaps: click the menu button in the lower right corner to access settings. By “Send me Snaps,” be sure it says “My Friends” not “Everyone”. That way, only people you’ve added to your friend list can send you pics/video.
Block users: to block someone sending you snaps, tap the menu button, then “My Friends.” When you find the person’s name you want to block, simply swipe across their name on Apple devices or, on Android phones, press and hold the person’s name, then press “Edit” and then “Block” or “Delete”.
Report abuse: if a child receives inappropriate media, or is being harassed, contact local law enforcement immediately. You might also contact Snapchat via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location Sharing: yes, users share too much information about where they’re snapchatting. Here’s how to limit location sharing.
Parents should take extreme caution when deciding if their tweens or young teens are able to handle the temptations this app presents. Snapchat’s own rules say users must be 13+, this feels more like a 15+ app.
If you want extra assurance, then the Bark solution can monitor for inappropriate words used in Snapchat, sending alerts to parents (assuming you know their account information). Pretty cool!