Is Snapchat safe for my child?


What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a popular messaging app that allows you to send images and videos to other users. These are known as ‘Snaps’. One of Snapchat’s unique selling points is that messages are normally only available for a short period of time and can only be viewed once.

What age-rating is Snapchat?

The platform is rated 13+.

How does Snapchat work?

The platform mainly operates as a messaging app where users can communicate with each other using videos and images. However, there are also other features available including private chat, games, and voice notes. You can also create short videos that can be posted to a public feed.

Tips to help keep your child safe on Snapchat

1. Make sure they sign up with the correct age

Set up your child’s Snapchat account together to make sure they sign up with correct age. This will automatically enable settings that help to limit unwanted contact from adults and access to certain features.

2. Talk to them about how to feel good on social media

Children and young people can face lots of different pressures online. Use Childline’s advice about How to feel good on social media to help give them the tools to manage their wellbeing online.

3. Set rules around friends

Before your child starts using the app, talk to them about who they can be friends with on the app. Tell them to come to you if they receive a friend request from someone they don’t know.

4. Know where to report

There is a chance that your child could come across inappropriate or upsetting content on Snapchat. If this happens, you should report it to the platform. To report a Snap or a story, press and hold on it, then select ‘Report Snap’.

5. Talk about what is ok / not ok to share

Ensure that your child knows what personal and private information is, and what is, and is not, appropriate to share online.

6. Explore the safety features

Read below about the 10 safety features that are available, like privacy settings and ‘Snapchat Family Centre’.

What safety features are available on Snapchat?

Family centre

Snapchat’s new family centre gives you an overview of your child’s activity on the app. By linking your account to your child's, you can see a list of their friends and who they have contacted in the last seven days – but not the content of those messages. Family centre also gives you access to a confidential reporting service that allows you to report any concerns directly to Snapchat’s Trust and Safety team.

Ghost mode

Enabling this will stop other users from seeing your child’s location. To edit location settings, go to the cog button in the right-hand corner of the screen. Then enable ‘Ghost mode’ and select ‘until switched off’ to make sure it stays enabled.

Limit contact from adult users

Snapchat has introduced restrictions to help limit unwanted contact from adults. Adults will not be allowed to add young people who are 17 and under unless they have a certain number of friends in common. This won’t stop all contact from adults, but it will help to limit it.

Privacy settings

There are different privacy settings available that will help to limit who can see your child’s account and contact them. Who can contact me – This lets you manage who can contact your child. Who can view my story – Here you can block specific people from viewing their story. To explore the different privacy settings available, select the cog in the right-hand side of the screen and select ‘Privacy’.

Default chat functions

By default, you can’t chat to someone on Snapchat unless you are friends. Make sure to speak to your child about who they accept friend requests from.


To report another user, press and hold on their Snapchat ID, select ‘More’ and ‘Report’. Visit our reporting online safety concerns advice page or contact the NSPCC Helpline for more support.

Snap features

Keeps people up to date with news of the day, a feed where you can explore content posted by other users and popular news platforms.

Here you are likely to see viral content. This is another feature like TikTok, where you can explore short videos posted by other users. Just like TikTok, videos are shown to you using algorithms which makes it difficult to manage what you see.

This lets you share your live location with people you connect with on the app.

This lets you play solo or team games with friends.

This lets two users film a video together using different devices.

Streaks are a measure of your activity with a Snapchat user. When you send or receive Snaps from a person at least once for 3 consecutive days, a

'Snapstreak' begins. To keep a long streak going, you will have to ensure that you and your friend are exchanging snaps every day - it is designed to keeps users hooked.

You need to be friends with someone on Snapchat to send them a message. However, anyone can send a friend request if they have your Snapchat ID.

Snapchat plus is a subscription plan for Snapchat users that gives them access to new features.

Is Snapchat plus safe for children?

There are additional features available on Snapchat that might be risky for children and young people. If your child is interested in getting a Snapchat plus subscription you should sit down and explore it with them together.

Previously Snapchat has only been available to download as app. Users who subscribe to Snapchat plus get exclusive access to the desktop version of the app.

This allows your Snapchat friends to see where you have been in the last 24 hours on a map.

This lets you see who has rewatched your stories.

What are the risks of Snapchat?

Inappropriate or harmful content

Children and young people could be at risk of viewing harmful or upsetting video content and images.

Location sharing

Snapchat Map shares your location with other users on the app.

Unwanted contact

Your child could receive unwanted contact from adults or other young people using the app.

Pressure to share

Snapchat messages normally disappear after a short period of time once opened. This could put a child more at risk of sharing something that makes them feel uncomfortable or could harm or upset someone else. It’s important to remember that images, videos, and messages can always be screen shotted by the recipient.

Pressure to chat

With streaks, there is a pressure to keep using the app and to achieve a high ‘streak score’.

Worried about a child?

Contact our Helpline by calling 0808 800 5000 or emailing [email protected].

Children can contact Childline any time to get support themselves.

Get support