The world of social media can be a bit intimidating, especially when it comes time for your kids to get online. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat can seem a bit scary for a parent of teens and tweens. With a little help though, they can be pretty easy to navigate and understand.
While you’re probably already familiar with Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat can be a bit of a mystery for parents. Their target demographic is ages 13-29, and many over-30s haven’t quite caught the appeal of the platform. However, if you have even a passing familiarity with Snapchat, you’re probably familiar with its cute filters, which appeal to teenagers (especially teen girls). These filters can turn anyone into a cute puppy, a little bunny, or a kitten; give them a flower crown; turn back time and give them a baby face; or more. Read on for a parent’s guide to Snapchat filters.
What are Snapchat Filters?
Before we get into filters, let’s clear up a lingering anxiety for some parents: is Snapchat safe for kids? It’s important to remember that while younger kids may be attracted to the cartoonish filters and ability to add bitmojis and other fun effects to their photos, the app is for ages 13 and up. We recommend adhering to the ages rules on this app. And as with any messaging app, parents should make sure their teenagers are aware of basic safety rules, such as not sharing personal information and being careful of sharing their location (especially important since Snapchat allows users to add venue information to snaps when they’re at an event).
Creative teens enjoy Snapchat because of the various photo and video editing capabilities it offers. The popular Snapchat filters map out and identify different facial markers allowing the app to add fun effects to different facial features, such as glasses, or a puppy nose and ears.
These can be seen as the next step of evolution from Instagram-style “lenses”, which add effects to a photo as you take it, and manipulate the photo itself.
In addition to fun and quirky filters that can transform everyone into fun different things, there are also sponsored filters that advertise different products and services. Occasionally, these sponsored filters can include inappropriate content for teenagers. That is where the privacy settings and proper account set up comes into play. One of the big things that will help control inappropriate content is making sure that your child’s account is set up with the proper age/birthday. This will help filter out content that you might otherwise wish for your teen to avoid.
Should You Be Concerned about Snapchat Filters?
Now that you have a better understanding of what Snapchat filters are and how to use them, let’s take a look at how safe they are. In addition to making sure your child’s correct age information is entered into the app, another great way to help keep an eye on your child’s account is to download a parental monitoring app on your child’s phone. Jiminy is an app for parents to monitor Snapchat and other social media and phone use. It alerts parents of any potential threats or concerns while allowing kids the freedom to maintain their privacy.
Another way to ensure that your kids do not see mature content is to limit who they interact with online. Snapchat suggests filters and content that is popular with friends of the user. Therefore the higher number of adult friends your child has on Snapchat, the more likely it is for them to view filters with a more mature theme.
Often, kids will have a favorite filter. This can represent how they see themselves, or how they want to be seen, as well as a way to try out new looks. Filters can also add fun effects to photos, making them more exciting or entertaining. They also allow them to celebrate and commemorate different moments that they wish to remember and share. Snapchat filters can be an expression of themselves, or can be just for fun. Just make sure that your child knows the difference between who they are in real life versus their online persona.
Many parents are already savvy about Snapchat, but if you’ve found yourself baffled by the platform, we hope that this parents’ guide to Snapchat filters and safety has cleared up your questions.