Popular with young people, Snapchat is a free app that allows users to take a picture or a video and send it to their friends, who then have a limited about of time to see it before it is deleted.


1. Age of users

Users must be at least 13 years of age before downloading the app, and anyone under 18 needs their parent’s permission before they do avail of it.


2. Photos can be saved as screen grabs

While the picture will disappear after ten seconds, the person who opens it can take a screen grab of it before it is deleted. However, Snapchat does not save your images and it does try to let the sender know if someone has taken a screen grab – but some phones have this disabled.


3. It’s not your picture anymore

Once you upload a picture, you give Snapchat: "Non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable and transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such user content in connection with the services, subject to your use of privacy settings in the services to control who can see your user content." And while it states that it deletes your picture once it has been seen, know that pictures shared via the internet are never fully gone.


4. Snapkidz is available for under 13s

While those under the age of 13 aren’t allowed use Snapchat, there is another version of the app, Snapkidz, which allows those under age to take photos on their mobile phone but not share it. However, the image is saved onto their device and can be emailed or sent in a message to others.



5. It can be a platform for sexting and bullying

With many young people focusing in on the fact that the picture disappears after ten seconds, it can mean that it becomes a platform for sexting and even bullying.


6. How can you keep your little one safe?

While an outright ban of the use of the app may simply cause them to download it in secret, it is important you set some ground rules before they download it. Talk to them about not posting mean or derogatory pictures and to always interact in a friendly way. Make sure your child has their ‘Who Can See Me’ settings turned to ‘My Friends’, not ‘Everyone’.