What a time to be a parent, not only are we responsible for ensuring the safety of their physical lives we must look after their digital lives.  With the latter being far more a challenge than some food, attention, physical/mental stimulation and not strangling the little darlings.

When I were a lad id bike down the road to get the latest invention “sliced bread”, okay I am not that old but in terms of technology the late 70s and 80s were truly archaic, the den of the geek, the epitome of nerd to which me and my friends were fully fledged members.  It was almost in direct conflict to technology of today, our parents were completely assured of our safety as we were most often found upstairs in our rooms with our mates lost in our own digital world.  Whether it was actively encouraging repetitive strain injuries through Daley Thompson’s decathlon or fighting the legions of doom in a significantly pixelated format there was little concern about any real dangers to our wellbeing. (well other than accidently causing thermo nuclear war)

In 2018 technology is integrated in to every aspect of life, entertainment, shopping, business, education and social interactions.   For those close to my generation who were not cursed (blessed) with the gift of geek it is easy to overlook the more harmful aspects of technology, particularly the smart phone generation has seen an influx of apps that can pose some very real risks to our families.   It is with this though that I am going to run a series of blog posts about how to take back a bit of control on these apps and return some peace of mind to the parents of the digital generation.

The first of these is an app I truly dislike and have significant concerns over what (who) we could be exposing our children to:

“SNAPCHAT”

Thankfully there are a variety of options to limit its risks…please also be aware settings can only take you so far, reinforcing responsibility for their actions with these apps is of greater importance.

Right on to the good stuff:

Parents guide to settings for SNAPCHAT

Snapchat has been on the go since 2010 and is a picture\video sharing platform that can be found on most smart phones owned by the younger generation.   The knowledge that pictures\videos disappear in a matter of seconds provides a false sense of security and encourages momentary lapses in judgment…the fact is there is nothing to stop a screenshot being taken to negate the time limited nature of a snap.

Essential Setting Number 1

Control who can contact your children.   From the Snap Chat menu select “settings”…yeah that wee cog.  Now find the section “Who Can” - “Contact Me” and select “My Friends”.   Congratulations you have now restricted snap chat to only permit their friends to send them a snap.

Essential Setting Number 2

Get Rid of Location Services - This one is essential to turn off, it allows sharing of location with friends which can risk your child being connected to strangers in the area.  There are two parts to this one

A: Snap Chat - Go to “Settings” – “Who Can”“See My Location” and enable “Ghost Mode”

B: Phone Settings - Go to the phone settings, find the option relevant to “apps” (e.g. Apps & Notifications), use the option for “app permissions”, select the “location”menu and switch it off for “snap chat”…good opportunity to switch it off for other apps while you are there. (this may be variable between phones but should be similar)

Essential Setting Number 3

Limit ability to see a story:  A story is a bit like the best of the last 24 hours for snaps, the standard install setting allows any of your child’s friends to view.

To control which friends can see these stories go to “settings”, now find “Who Can” - “View My Story”.   From here use the Custom option to block specific “friends” from viewing it (you know the ones).

Essential Setting Number 4

Disable Quick Add – Back to the “settings”, find “Who Can”“Show me in quick add” and turn that “off”

Essential Setting Number 5

Block the idiots:  Some children much like some adults can be down right vile, more so over the internet.  Make sure to block anyone that causes upset or says something harmful.   From the chat with that “person” select “menu” and then select “block”.  They can no longer contact your child and are oblivious to the fact they have been blocked.

On a final note, should anything unsuitable be received, do not think twice…report it by sending an email to safety@Snapchat.com