Before you say “yes” to Snapchat, consider whether you are prepped and ready. Make sure you’ve had conversations about hard topics they will encounter in Snapchat, like sexting, pornography, and cyberbulling, to name a few. Check out the full list of topics to cover by downloading the guide.
Want your child to hear from an experienced Snapchat driver? Consider gathering insight from a trusted teen or babysitter. Ask them to share their Snapchat wisdom—things they wish they had known before they downloaded Snapchat. Need some conversation starters? We’ve included some in the guide.
If you are ready to say yes to Snapchat, plan to log some hours in the passenger seat, coaching them through the thrills and hazards of their new app.
When you download, it is important to set strong limits and release them slowly. Why? Because once you’ve set them free, it will be much harder to pull in the reins. Check out our Parent Guide for a list of Snapchat features and activities to limit at first.
Consider kicking off their Snapchat initiation with this coaching activity: block out a couple of hours to “co-create” a story or video as a family. Have fun with it! Choose a theme (Christmas, Hamilton, Star Wars), download a song, and invite the whole family to make a music video using Snap Stories. This will give you the perfect opportunity to see what hazards they will run into, and train them how to respond first-hand. When an inappropriate solicitation happens? Talk them through how you would “block” the user. Show them how to “save” messages so they can come talk to you about confusing conversations. (Hint: to save, you tap the line of text. Not available for photos, unfortunately.) When your tween starts scrolling through the Discover section? Help them make a plan to avoid it, and talk to them about why it is important—unfettered access to sexual content. Explore the Snap Maps section, and talk about the perks of geolocation…but also the drawbacks, like when you see your friends together—and you weren’t invited. Our parent guide includes some additional great topics to check in on as you spend time coaching your tween or teen through the dicey world of Snapchat.
As they merge into Snapchat traffic, it is important to stay connected to your teen. We loved this story from START parent, Amy. She shared with us that she committed to learning more about her teen’s obsession with Snapchat by downloading the app for herself. She found out that it really WAS fun to snap with her daughter…as well as reconnect with an old friend of hers on the other side of the country. Before they knew it, they had a “snap streak” going of 362 days. On the 363rd day, Amy got distracted, forgot to snap, and broke the streak! She was surprised to find that she felt a very real sadness that she had let her friend down. That night, she shared with her daughter what had happened and how she felt. Her daughter reached over and said, “Mom, I’ve done that too and I always feel the same way.” This Snapchat experiment built an unexpected bridge—talking about the pressures and expectations that can come with social media–and deepened her relationship with her kiddo.
Accidents are bound to happen! Over and over, assure your child that you are safe, and you will not freak out when they share shocking stories with you.
Questions about the app itself? The Parent’s Guide to Snapchat covers all sorts of things you need to know to be their “Roadside Assistance.”