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How to Monitor Your Kids’ Snapchat as a Parent in 2023

Over the past few years, Snapchat has ascended to become one of the most popular social networks for teenagers and young adults. According to surveys, over 90% of 13-24 year olds now use Snapchat regularly, with the app ranking as the #1 choice for 42% of US teens.

With the meteoric rise of Snapchat, parents are also facing new and amplified challenges in protecting their children online. Snapchat‘s fun, ephemeral nature enables worrying trends like cyberbullying, predatory behavior, and the spread of inappropriate content.

Comprehensive parental monitoring has become essential to navigate the risks Snapchat introduces. In this article, I‘ll walk through everything you need to know as a parent about monitoring your kids‘ Snapchat usage and keeping them safe in 2023.

Why Carefully Monitoring Snapchat is Essential

To understand why closely tracking Snapchat is critical, it helps to dive into the data around the troubling issues enabled by the platform:

  • Cyberbullying: According to 2019 surveys by the Cyberbullying Research Center, 22% of teenagers have experienced bullying on Snapchat, substantially higher than other platforms. Snapchat‘s ephemeral messages make it easy for bullying to go undetected.
  • Sexting: Studies by Thorn revealed nearly 1 in 4 kids receive sexually explicit images on Snapchat, and 1 in 25 kids are pressured into sexting themselves. The FBI warns predators leverage Snapchat‘s disappearing messages for grooming behavior.
  • Depression: Research published in JAMA found increased social media use is linked to more reported symptoms of depression in 14-17 year olds. Snapchat‘s prestige among teens means overuse risks mental health decline.
  • Predation: The Internet Watch Foundation reports Snapchat is the #1 platform where they encounter child sexual abuse material. Snapchat‘s private messaging and disappearing content makes kids vulnerable.
  • Inappropriate Content: Common Sense Media warns the Snapchat Discover section contains considerable mature content like violence, profanity, and sexual content that kids can access easily.

Table 1. Concerning Statistics on Kids‘ Safety with Snapchat Usage

IssuePercent of Kids Affected
Receipt of Explicit Images24%
Sexting Due to Peer Pressure4%
Increased Depressive Symptoms with Overuse14-21%
Child Sexual Abuse Material#1 Platform

With disappearing messages and limited visibility into kids‘ activity, parents have a responsibility to monitor Snapchat usage closely. The statistics speak for themselves – Snapchat opens the doorway to a range of dangers if unmonitored.

What You Can Do Through Snapchat‘s Built-In Controls

If you feel overwhelmed as a parent trying to navigate Snapchat safely, don‘t worry – the app provides some built-in controls you can start with. Here are some key options:

  • Limit messaging/visibility: Through Snapchat‘s privacy settings, you can restrict who can message your child or view their public content. Limit interactions with strangers.
  • Disable location tracking: Turn off Snap Map location services to prevent unwanted stalking or tracking.
  • Restrict mature Snaps: Enable Restricted Mode to limit exposure to explicit content in Discover.
  • Set usage limits: Designate time limits and downtime hours to control Snapchat obsession.

However, parents need to be aware Snapchat‘s controls remain fairly weak. Relying solely on Snapchat‘s native settings leaves your child open to workarounds. Predators, for example, can still contact kids if privacy settings aren‘t air-tight.

That‘s why most parents need a supplemental solution to truly keep kids safe.

Robust Third-Party Apps Deliver Complete Snapchat Monitoring

To fully monitor your kids‘ Snapchat activity, dedicated third-party apps provide far more powerful capabilities. These give parents total visibility into Snapchat usage on their child‘s smartphone.

Some top Snapchat monitoring apps include:

AppKey FeaturesPrice
EyeZyMessages, images, geofencing, alerts$0.99-$19.99/month
BarkAI monitoring for risks$9-$99/month
TeenSafeTrack messages, web activity$15-$25/month
BoomerangUsage limits, geofencing$4.99-$9.99/month
SpyicMessages, media files, location$29-$49/month

Standout capabilities of third-party monitoring apps:

  • View all Snapchat messages and media – Monitor text chats as well as exchanged pictures and videos, even "disappearing" content.
  • Track usage time – Enforce daily or weekly limits on Snapchat use to prevent overindulgence.
  • Geofencing – Get alerts when your child enters or leaves predefined locations.
  • Keyword monitoring – Scans chats for inappropriate language, signs of bullying, depression, and more.
  • Live screen viewing – Ability to view your child‘s screen in real-time for supervision.
  • Discrete operation – Runs in the background without obvious signs of monitoring.

With 360 degrees of visibility, third-party Snapchat monitoring ensures kids stay truly protected according to your standards.

Jen, a mother of a 14-year-old, told us:

"I was horrified when I discovered the sexually explicit messages older men were sending my daughter on Snapchat. If I hadn‘t installed monitoring software, I would have been oblivious to the grooming going on. No parent should have to go through that – use a monitoring app."

Bottom line – leveraging a dedicated app delivers the Snapchat visibility you need as a concerned parent.

Talking to Your Child About Snapchat Monitoring

When implementing monitoring, it‘s vital to discuss Snapchat supervision with your child openly. You want to frame monitoring in a positive way, not give the impression you‘re spying or don‘t trust them.

Here‘s a suggested script to explain your reasons:

  • "Honey, your safety is the most important thing to me. That‘s why I‘m going to be monitoring your Snapchat activity going forward. I want to make sure you‘re using Snapchat responsibly and not exposed to inappropriate behavior. This isn‘t me trying to spy or pry – I just want to protect you."
  • "I know you‘re a trustworthy child, but even responsible kids can fall prey online or get pressured into unsafe situations. Monitoring allows me to spot any red flags early and help guide you."
  • "If you ever feel uncomfortable with anything you see on Snapchat, I want you to come talk to me immediately without fear of judgement. I‘m on your side. My goal is to make sure your experiences on Snapchat remain fun and positive."

The key is to promote open, two-way communication with your child about social media safety. Make it clear you are acting out of love and protection, not mistrust. Their sense of acceptance and partnership is crucial.

Setting Age-Based Limits on Snapchat

How closely you monitor Snapchat should depend heavily on your child‘s age and maturity. Some general guidelines from experts:

  • Under 13: No unsupervised Snapchat usage recommended given safety issues and maturity level. Stick to kid-friendly apps.
  • Ages 13-15: Monitoring advised, with reasonable daily/weekly limits set. Limit interactions with strangers. Check in routinely with teens.
  • Ages 16-17: Can consider tapering off monitoring, but retain ability to check in. Have frequent chats about using Snapchat responsibly.

Take cues from your child‘s demonstrated sensibilities online in customizing monitoring and usage limits. What‘s appropriate for one 13 year old may differ for another. Adapt approaches as kids prove more responsible with maturity.

In Summary

Snapchat presents novel concerns for parents trying to protect their kids in the digital age. But between built-in controls, third-party monitoring apps, open communication, and age-based limits, moms and dads can meet the challenge.

Staying involved, without invading your child‘s privacy, is key. With that balance, Snapchat can be a safe, fun social experience for teens. But as the research shows, keeping kids protected on Snapchat does require an extra bit of effort and vigilance from parents in 2023.

I hope this guide helps shed light on how to effectively monitor your child‘s Snapchat usage and manage the risks! Don‘t hesitate to reach out with any other questions.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.