Snapchat is one of thousands of photo sharing apps and it’s not the only one with disappearing pictures (Facebook, for example, had a similar app called Poke). New apps are popping up all the time, which is why it's important for children and young people to develop critical thinking and media literacy skills, to help them stay safe. (Of course kids can get into trouble using Snapchat or any other service, but the same can be said for swimming pools. That’s why we teach them how to swim!)
If something's gone wrong, here's what you can do:
- Block the user. To block someone from sending you snaps, tap the Menu button, then My Friends. When you find the person's name in your friends list (or under 'Recent' if you haven't added them), swipe right across their name on Apple devices or, on Android phones, press and hold on the person's name, then press Edit and then Block – or just Delete if you want them off your list. And because there is no mass-sharing, no one will see your content unless you choose to send it to them.
- Flag underage users. If you are concerned about a person using Snapchat who is under 13, you can report the person by sending an email to email@example.com.
- Report abuse. If a child receives inappropriate photos or someone's harassing them, contact Snapchat via firstname.lastname@example.org or by going to the Snapchat online support site. Certain Android phones allow you to shake the handset while using the app to be offered a Report a problem option.
In the unlikely event you encounter anything that appears to be illegal or dangerous or if you have reason to believe someone is at risk of harm or self-harm, contact YoungMinds on 0808 802 5544 or email at email@example.com.
- Delete the account. If Snapchat isn’t for you (or your child) you can delete the account by going to http://www.snapchat.com/a/delete_account, as long as you have the user name and password.
It generally works better to talk with your children about their favourite tools with genuine interest, rather than fear – because then they're more likely to come to you when they need help and you’re much more likely to be kept in the loop.