Expert gives advice for parents on teens and new Snapchat controls

Aug 11, 2022, 5:30 PM | Updated: Sep 7, 2022, 10:19 am
File - Experts say parents should consider if Snapchat is right for children and teenagers due to i...
File - Experts say parents should consider if Snapchat is right for children and teenagers due to issues of safety. (Photo: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire, AP Images)
(Photo: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire, AP Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Almost 11 years after it was introduced in the US, Snapchat on Tuesday gave parents for the first time some control over who their kids are chatting with on the app. But they won’t be able to read the text messages. 

To use the new feature, parents or guardians will need to install the Snapchat app on their own device to link their account to their teens through an invitation process as reported by Fox29.

There are 319 million daily Snapchat users worldwide, 87.3 million in the US and around 54.4% of Snapchat users are female and 44.6% are male.

Debbie said when Snapchat first came out, she was scared.

“I didn’t know what creep was on the other side of Snapchat potentially sending them pics because those pics just disappeared,” she said.

Dave said he’s not worried about his kids texting with friends, but rather with someone they just met.

“You’re texting your best friend, I’m not worried about that. If it’s a stranger, someone you’ve just met. Now all of a sudden the warning lights start going off,” he said.

The expert is in

Carrie Rogers-Whitehead is the founder of Digital Respons-Ability, a mission-based company that has trained tens of thousands of parents, students and educators on digital citizenship. She joins Dave & Dujanovic to discuss Snapchat’s new “Family Center” supervision tool.

“Are you as thrilled as Dave and I are about this new feature that Snapchat has rolled out for moms and dads?” Debbie asked.

“I’ll say I wish it came out a few years ago for sure . . . but I do like what they’re trying to do,” Rogers-Whitehead said.

“The thing about Snapchat that’s always bothered me, but I think it’s probably the reason why it’s so popular, is because it has this built-in privacy,” Dave said. “It’s the very purpose it was created. And it’s not a big surprise that teens just gravitated to it.”

“You probably remember when you were a kid and locking the door and saying, ‘Get out of here’ or trying to go to the mall or trying to go somewhere away from your parents,” Rogers-Whitehead said. ” I totally get why that’s enticing for teens.”

Snapchat friends, but also parents

Debbie asked how parents go about getting buy-in from their teens on Snapchat to share the new feature with Mom and Dad.

For this to work, Rogers-Whitehead said, Snapchat teens and their parents have to be friends.

“I think [parents] bring it up and you recognize that ‘Hey, I’m trying to just be part of your life. I love you. (And) I care about you and let’s do this together,'” she said.

Rogers-Whitehead added that the conversation between parents and their teens needs to be widened. It needs to include other apps, like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, that have vanishing-text and self-destruct features.

“I suddenly feel overwhelmed when we start talking about — not just Snapchat — but we’ve got to worry about Facebook. We got to worry about Instagram. We have to worry about WhatsApp. I think this is a call to action moment for parents,” Debbie said.

Rogers-Whitehead said her company, Digital Respons-Ability,  offers digital parenting classes.

“We talk about apps and strategies. We have a bunch of free, downloadable conversation starters and resources for parents on our website, too. But we want to help. I know it does get overwhelming. I’m a parent myself,” she said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Expert gives advice for parents on teens and new Snapchat controls