Parent's guide: Making Snapchat safer for your kids


I’m sure you’ve seen the photographs with doggy ears and flower crowns as the fun and entertaining Snapchat filters make their way into every profile picture and viral video.

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to take a picture or video that gets displayed for between 1 and 10 seconds before disappearing from the screen of their friends to whom they send it, while they also have the option of posting it to their snapchat story which disappears every 24 hours.

With face-changing filters and high-pitched funny voices, anyone with a mobile device can download the app and join in on the fun.

Snapchat, however, has certain terms and conditions of using the app to ensure the safety of potential users. One of these terms says that no one under the age of 13 is even allowed to create an account.

But should you have a teenage son or daughter with their own mobile device, it might be a good idea to discuss and lay down a few ground rules before allowing them to use the app. We recommend a conversation about these simple but necessary privacy settings:

1. When you open the Snapchat app in camera mode, swipe down on the profile screen to find and then tap on the settings icon in the top right corner. 

2. Once you’re in settings, scroll down to “Who Can…” and decide who can contact you and view your story.

3. The third setting under the “Who Can…” section is “Quick Add” and makes you easily discoverable on other users’ Snapchat, should you share mutual friends.

Once you follow these prompts you'll see that Snapchat has made it possible to switch off discoverability as well as restrict access to who can contact you and view your story to either "Everyone" or only your “Friends”. We recommend the Friends option, of course, so that the only people who can see your child's snaps and interact with them are people they know and choose to accept and interact with. 

Also read: Parent's guide: Making Instagram safer for your kids

With these quick and simple settings you can ensure that you and your kids enjoy every filter without having to worry about who can see it and how it gets shared.

And be sure to try out the doggy filter – it’s my favourite!

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Do you allow your teen to use Snapchat? Tell us by emailing to and we may publish your comments. 

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