A friend of mine asked for advice about the Snap Chat application as a parent with respect to letting their child use it. This is my response:
I consider Snap Chat a dangerous app. From my technology and marketing background, it does everything it needs to do to create attention deficit, addictive, and superficial behaviors in children and young adults. It has use incentives that are progressive in nature. The app itself fosters superficial and visual communication via the short text and picture stimulations at the expense of developing and maintaining mature relationship skills. The longer your list of friends, the more you have to be on the app in order to not lose your streaks.
The other issue I have with the app as a parent is the false perception that kids have with respect to the disappearing nature of the snap chat itself. They are sending inappropriate photos using this app that would not otherwise happen in public or if there was an easily accessible record of these snaps.
There is genitalia being sent by kids to other kids. As concerned parents, we monitor any and all social media that is on our daughter’s phone. That is a condition of use. This app is the most problematic of all the social media apps I have seen to date.
Any parent should either not allow the use of this app, or monitor the use of this app by their children by also loading the app on their phone and monitoring their children’s accounts multiple times daily and having discussions about it regularly, along with limits on use.
I totally agree with the perception that young adults do not have the maturity to be able to self-regulate and balance virtual life and real life. Our daughter is 15, in high school, is in honors and an accelerated learning academy, orchestra, as well as being involved in varsity track and cross-country running. Social media regularly impacts her school work and life choices for the worse. It is a constant struggle and she is not mature enough to handle the unfettered pressures associated with this medium, and especially this app. My guess is that 99.9% of all young adults are the same. If you’re not seeing this, you’re not monitoring what’s happening with your child on a regular basis.