Snapchat’s Catch-22 – Balancing the Impact on Our Kids’ Lives

Snapchat’s Catch-22 – Balancing the Impact on Our Kids’ Lives

It is safe to say that Snapchat is pretty addictive for the kids. The app started as another social media app for communicating. However, today, kids use the platform to broadcast their every move for the world to see.

But why are children so obsessed with using Snapchat every day?

Let’s discuss the reasons and ways to curb this digital addiction among kids.

The Positive and Negative Impacts of Snapchat

Snapchat is an instant messaging app launched in 2011, and the app recently reported surpassing 800 million monthly active users. It is the fifth most popular instant messaging app. Snapchat was the first app to introduce disappearing messages, a feature later adopted by WhatsApp, Telegram, iMessage, and Instagram.

The users can send pictures or videos called ‘snaps’ and make them creative through filters, lenses, and effects. They can post these snaps to their stories, and their friends and anyone who follows them can view them. These stories disappear after a set time period, usually 24 hours, and once posted, these cannot be edited or deleted.

Some people highlight the positive effects of using Snapchat, while most argue that excessive causes a negative impact. Like other social media apps, this debate will likely continue as long as the app is out there.

Let us dig deep into both the pros and cons.

Snapchat’s Pros

There are other popular instant messaging apps, but Snapchat has significantly influenced and changed how kids communicate. Your child might think the app gives them more freedom and digital creativity than any other app. Whatever the case, here are the other reasons why kids are hooked on the app:

● Imaginative Storytelling

Snapchat provides users with multiple creative outlets through text and videos. It promotes trends among users and actively asks users to participate. They can use captions, doodles, and other innovative features to portray their thoughts, ideas, and personalities.

● Minimal Text

Snapchat provides a more visual experience, and text and even captions aren’t strictly necessary. Apart from one-user interactions, the app does not rely on text much and is purely focused on providing a visual experience through videos and images.

● Less Social Pressure

The Like and Retweet buttons easily put teens under social pressure. However, Snapchat is one of the rare social media apps that does not have such an option, allowing teens to feel more casual and comfortable.

● Disappearing Messages

Snapchat is designed so that messages and multimedia disappear after they are viewed once. The nature of the disappearing messages means there is no accumulation of pointless text. Also, any potentially embarrassing content will self-destruct after being viewed once or within a day.  

● Heavy Emphasis on Privacy

Snapchat was built on a foundation of privacy and security. It provides disappearing messages and notifies users if other users have screenshotted their text messages and stories. This helps maintain a security level not found in other apps.

Snapchat’s Cons

In a recent study by Pew Research, Snapchat overtook Instagram with social media teen usage. 60% of teens prefer Snapchat over other apps such as Instagram and Facebook. However, all the increased usage has given way to potential risks. Here are some of them

● Stress and Anxiety

Teenagers can spend hours on the app to maintain a snap streak and improve their snap score. The use of selfie filters and editing tools can induce unrealistic image expectations. If they develop this habit, then they can easily become a victim of stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues.  

● Location Sharing

The Snap Map feature displays the precise location of the teen and shares it with their followers. Even strangers can see the location if the teen has not adjusted the privacy setting.

Furthermore, teens can casually share their private details like name, email address, and other information. This activity, along with geolocation, increases the chances of stalking and cyberbullying.

● Inappropriate or Harmful Content

Explicit and adult content is present on Snapchat, and teens can easily view it. They can follow certain accounts that may post mature content. It increases the likelihood of teens viewing inappropriate and upsetting photos and videos. There have been reports of teens posting nude and semi-nude pictures of themselves on the app.

● Predators and Unwanted Contact

The ‘Quick Add’ feature suggests potential friends or people the teens might know. In hopes of expanding their reach, most teens even add strangers. These predators exploit and groom the teens and use disappearing messages to hide their tracks.  

● Screen Addiction

Streaks tell teens how often they send snaps and interact with others. This can force them to maintain their streak and usually lead to fear of missing out (FOMO).

● Snaps can be Saved

The photos and videos self-destruct after a particular time. However, users can save the media through screenshots or other media capture. Some users can use it for blackmail.

Why it is Difficult for Parents to Balance Snapchat’s Positive and Negative Effects

There are not one but various reasons why most parents are finding it difficult to monitor their kid’s Snapchat activity. Some of those are:

  • Kids can easily install the app and make a profile 
  • The minimum age to create a profile is 13. But children even below 13 can lie about their age and set up an account
  • The shared messages and media only last for 24 hours. If you are busy during the day, you have no clue about the type of content your teen uploads and shares
  • The disappearing message does not completely delete the files. Other users can save the content through third-party apps. The teen can be bullied for risky photos or videos they once shared.

How can Parents Balance the Impact?

Social media is everywhere and now part of our everyday lives, including children. However, the easy reach of digital devices and their unrestricted use can leave an indelible effect on your child’s life. It is important to know if your teens use Snapchat, how they interact with others on the app, and whether the usage affects them positively or negatively.

Here are three ways to balance the impact:

Ask Teen to Apply Safety Measures

First, research Snapchat’s features and know how your teens can use them. Tell the teen that every action they take on social media leaves a footprint. Likewise, their followers can screenshot their snaps, so they should avoid anything that is harmful or embarrassing. 

It can be awkward, but explain to them the risks of sexting and how they should never divulge personal information. Ask the teen to enable ‘ghost mode’ on Snap Maps. This will ensure that no one can see their location. They must also turn off ‘quick add’ as it can allow strangers to view their profile. 

It is necessary to ask them to follow only friends and family on the app and restrict those who view their stories. They need to report any inappropriate photos, videos, or text they receive. Also, they have to block the sender from sending more such messages. 

Use Snapchat’s Parental Controls 

Due to growing online dangers, parental controls are necessary for all social media apps. Snapchat, like other apps, provides such controls that are free to use. You can view your teen’s friends list and those they interact with. 

Snapchat’s parental control even allows you to limit the content that shows in the Stories and Spotlight section. You can even report a certain account that does not feel right.

You need to install the app and create a profile. Next, ask the teen for their username and add them as friends. Once your child accepts the request, start with the Family Center. In the search bar, you can search for terms such as family or safety. 

Or you can go to the settings and find Family Center. Send an invite to your kid to join, and once they accept, you both will receive a confirmation. Now, set the content controls and see who your teen talks to. 

Use a Child Monitoring App

You can talk to the teens about the potential dangers of their Snapchat activity. However, they might agree with you on your face and use the app as they wish behind your back. You can employ Snapchat’s parental controls, but it has limited options. For example, you don’t know how the teens interact, the content they share, or how much time they use the app. 

Therefore, it is necessary to use a child monitoring app. XNSPY can help you keep your teens aware of all their Snapchat activity. The app has an ‘Installed Apps’ feature, which lets you know if they have installed ‘Snapchat’ in the first place. 

The screen recording and screenshot functionality captures all your teen’s Snapchat activity. You can use the dashboard to view the recordings and screenshots remotely. The advantages you get are  

  • Access to the Snaps they pose 
  • See their friends on Snapchat
  • View their chat with those they follow 
  • Monitor the photos they post and share

Moreover, XNSPY has an exclusive screen time option. This lets you know the number of times teens open Snapchat and the duration they spend using it. You can limit their screen time and note if they follow or violate it. If they violate, you can even use XNPSY remote features to block their access to Snapchat. 


Snapchat is without a doubt, one of the most popular apps among teens. Most use it daily to post their activity and thoughts and know about other trending stories. However, teens are not mature enough, and excessive use can cause them to get carried away by the alluring features of the app. 

The disappearing messages can tempt teens to share intimate photos, while the Snap Map can give away their physical location. It makes the teen vulnerable to cyberbullying, stalking, and grooming. 

You need to discuss the features of Snapchat and ask the kids to implement safety methods. It is also essential to use XNSPY to view how teens use Snapchat, the content they post, and the messages and media they exchange. The app allows you to stay updated on any dangerous activity and intervene in a timely manner to ensure your teen’s online safety.