Thanks to various technological innovations, connecting with anyone from across the globe has been made possible and easily accessible. Communication nowadays is no longer just limited to phone calls and text messages. Several messaging apps and social networking sites offer enhanced and streamlined telecommunication services.
In today’s digital age, even tweens and teens own internet-enabled devices and at least one active social media account. While such technologies help with their personal growth and social development, there are certain risks, especially to younger users. Snapchat, for instance, offers various amazing features and poses various cyber threats at the same time.
What Is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a free cloud-based multimedia messaging platform developed by Snap, Inc. Creating a Snapchat account requires your first and last name, email address, and date of birth. As per their terms of service, a user must be at least 13 years old to create an account.
Snapchat is one of the widely-used social media apps and is well-known for its self-destructing content feature. It has over 260 million daily active users worldwide. It’s currently rated 3.8 in App Store and 4.3 in Google Play.
Snapchat enables users to share photos or videos and send messages that automatically delete after being viewed by the recipient. Other popular features include Story which displays content for 24 hours. Discover that lets brands show ad-supported content. And My Eyes Only enables users to keep files in password-protected storage space.
Snapchat’s main feature, however, is the ability to communicate through snaps. To start a conversation, you have to tap on the camera circle to take a snap. Then, instantly edit the photo utilizing the app’s built-in tools and filters. You may then publish or send the content, depending on which feature you’ve chosen.
To help have a better grasp of how the platform works, here are some Snapchat jargons.
- Snapstreaks – Snapping within a 24-hour period for three days in a row.
- Snap Map – Shows users’ real-time locations and events from across the globe.
- Snapcode – Snapchat user’s unique QR code for easier friend listing.
- Snapcash – A payment method allowing users to transfer money to one another.
- Snapstore – A place to buy Snapchat-related items.
- Snap Originals – Short series of shows exclusively available for Snapchat users.
- Sounds – TikTok-like feature allowing the incorporation of music to snaps.
- Spotlight – TikTok-like feed that can be viewed by anyone on or off the platform.
Snapchat Dangers To Be Wary Of
Like any other social media site or third-party app, Snapchat is susceptible to online dangers and vulnerable to cyber threats. Here are some of those.
Platform for Sexting
Snapchat is sometimes referred to as a sexting app, especially during its early days because of its self-destructing content feature. As a result, several users until now create accounts for the sole purpose of looking for someone to sext with. Because of this general misconception, you could get exposed to mature or inappropriate content.
False Sense of Security
The self-destruction and time-restricted features are the main attractions of the platform. However, these could be the most dangerous features of Snapchat. This creates a false sense that users can send anything – from random snaps and personal photos to inappropriate content and revealing videos – thinking it could instantly and permanently be deleted. Unknown to most users, there are ways to record or recover deleted and archived files, like utilizing reliable monitoring software.
Snapchat is open to just about anyone, making it one of the most widely used social media platforms. Unfortunately, this popularity is also why most malicious users specifically use the app to hunt for and target their next victims. If you’re not careful enough, there might be cyberbullies, scammers, hackers, blackmailers, or other bad actors on your friends’ list.
Lack of Moderation
Snapchat’s terms of service indicate a user must be at least 13-years-old to create an account. Also, users aged 13-17 would automatically be redirected to the safer version of the app, Snapkidz.
While these sound promising, there’s no strict moderation in place to ensure it’s, indeed, followed. Upon creation, you will be asked for your date of birth, but no further validation is required. This makes it very easy to bypass the security feature.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
Users of Snapchat – or any social media platform for that matter – tend to get addicted. This may lead to long periods of time spent on the app. For Snapchat, users are always checking their feeds for the fear of missing out on the latest trends or viral content.
Privacy and Data Breaches
Information provided upon account creation, data sent through text messages, snaps, stories, or on Snapchat’s other features/channels, are stored on the software’s server. Snapchat is also known to share data with third-party sites. Then, though there’s an alert notification, anyone can screenshot or capture your content before it self-destructs. All these could lead to privacy and data breach.
Frequently Asked Questions About Snapchat Dangers & Safety
Should I let my 13-year-old have Snapchat?
Technically, 13-year olds can have their Snapchat accounts. Due to various dangers, however, it’s not advisable. Most trusting boards recommend the app to users at least 16-18 years old.
If you allow your 13-year-old, make sure they only use Snapkidz. Also, it’s recommended you install spy software for real-time monitoring.
Why is Snapchat dangerous?
Snapchat is a free and open platform, making it accessible not only by legit users but also by malicious actors. Plus, there may be loopholes in the platform’s security and privacy settings. Making it a dangerous app especially if the user doesn’t take precautionary measures.
Can Snapchat be monitored by parents?
One efficient way to monitor Snapchat activities is through the use of monitoring software like PhoneSpector. This tool provides remote access, enabling you to see all engagements and record all snaps before they are deleted or archived. There are also parental controls parents can utilize as well to ensure their children’s safety.
Was Snapchat originally made for sexting?
Possibly because of new features being introduced at the time of launch, many misunderstood Snapchat to be a sexting app. That being said, it was never designed to function as one according to its developers. Unfortunately, up until now, several users create accounts and add people for the sole purpose of sexting.