A quick overview
We believe giving people the power to engage safely, creatively and positively is critical to their online experience.
As a parent or educator, you might know Snapchat as the messaging and camera app that’s one of the few ways teens communicate with their friends these days. From the very beginning, we’ve focused on helping real friends connect when they’re apart and to feel comfortable expressing themselves in the moment. We recognise that you want to ensure that your teen is well protected and informed while using our app.
To help you navigate the app, check out some Snapchat fundamentals and download our Parent Guide to Snapchat which will provide you with additional information that empowers you and your family to safely express yourselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together.
How to get around
First thing to understand: there's more to Snapchat than just photo and video messages that can disappear. At the bottom of the screen is an action bar with four main sections:
The Maps screen: click on the furthest left tab to be taken to a personalised Map around your Friends and Places.
The Chat screen: tap on the chat tab to the left of the camera icon for the messaging side of the app. It's where Snapchatters chat with their friends.
The Stories screen: swipe left for what might be a teen's main source of news. It's loaded with Stories and Discover content.
The Spotlight screen: Click on the far right ‘play’ button tab to watch entertaining Snaps and see perspectives from across our community.
Swipe up for Memories, where you can re-watch your saved Snaps and Stories.
The Stories section showcases stories from sources ranging from mainstream media (The Wall Street Journal, Wired, National Geographic) to entertainment websites to Snapchat itself, which publishes collections of user-submitted Snaps about certain topics.
The Stories section is also where Snapchatters can view Stories from their friends, celebrities and popular accounts.
To see less of a Story from media or entertainment accounts, just press and hold on it, then select “Hide”.
To see less of your Friends Stories, simply go to their profile and tap the ⋮ button at the right corner of the screen. Then choose the option “Mute Story”.
Be sure to understand and review privacy settings. (More on that below.) The first stop is Snap Map, which you can view by clicking on the far left tab on the action bar.
By default, Snapchat doesn't share your location, but the first time you open the Snap Map, you'll be prompted to choose whether to share your location with specific friends, all your friends or none at all.
You can see and adjust this in the settings menu of Snap Map at any time (just tap the gear icon at the top of the Map screen).
View your Snapchat settings by going to the Camera screen, tapping the Profile icon at top, and then tapping the gear icon.
Scroll down to “Who Can ...” to restrict who can contact you, view your Story or see your location on the Map.
Also tap into “See Me in Quick Add”. Know that with this setting on, you will appear in the Quick Add section for a wider range of Snapchatters, including friends of friends and anyone they’ve been in a Group Chat with.
Privacy on Snapchat is a top priority! More information is available on our Privacy Centre.
Every time two friends exchange Snaps with each other within a 24-hour period, they build a “streak” – represented by a🔥 emoji next to each person's name on the Friends screen. The number shown is a tally of how many days the streak has lasted.
Snapstreaks are meant to be a fun, light-hearted way to recognise who you're Snapping with most. They are not visible to anyone other than the two people who are exchanging Snaps.
Frequently asked questions
Snap takes safety issues like harassment and bullying very, very seriously. While most people use Snapchat as a fun way to keep in touch with their closest friends, we understand that any app that facilitates communication has the potential to be abused. We encourage our teen users to follow our Community Guidelines, safety tips and school rules — as well as talk to their parents about their safety concerns.
Q. How can I help keep my teen safe on Snapchat?
Q. I’m concerned my teen is being bullied on Snapchat.
We don’t tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind on Snapchat. Your teen can take one or more of the following actions.
Reporting: press and hold on the Snap or Story or click the ⋮ button in the upper right-hand corner, then tap the “Report Snap” button. Let us know what's going on — we'll do our best to help! You can also report any other type of content you receive. For more information about reporting, download our Quick-Guide to Snapchat Reporting!
Blocking: if someone is sending your teen inappropriate Snaps or Chats, you can always block that account. Just go to the profile of that person, click the three horizontal dots in the upper right-hand corner, and tap “Block Friend”.
Note: when you block a friend, that person won’t be able to view your Story or send you Snaps or Chats.
Adjust privacy settings. If your teen is getting Snaps from people who are not their friends, make sure their account is set to “Private”. This way, they can only receive Snaps and Chats from people they've already added as a friend. Learn how to update your privacy settings.
Leave a Group Chat. If your teen is being bullied in a Group Chat, they can always leave that Chat at any time.
To leave a Group Chat without opening up the Chat itself, you can just press and hold on the Group name on the Friends screen, tap the three horizontal dots in the upper right-hand corner, and then tap “Leave Group”.
Q. How can I monitor what my teen is watching on Discover?
You and your teen should have regular conversations about appropriate use of Snapchat and watch Discover together. You can also unsubscribe from, or see less of, certain Discover content like Publisher Stories, Official Stories and Popular Stories. Just press and hold the tile on the Discover screen and tap “Hide” or “Unsubscribe”.
Q. My teen is concerned about a friend whose Snaps have become focused on depression and self-harm. How can we help?
If you or your teen feel comfortable communicating with that friend, please encourage them to seek out help. If you don’t feel comfortable engaging with that person, please reach out to our Trust & Safety team at Snapchat.
We are committed to providing our users a safe environment where their privacy is protected. As part of that commitment, we’ve implemented a few in-app features specifically geared towards addressing self-harm and other safety concerns. Snapchatters can use our in-app reporting to reach out to us and report individuals going through a crisis. Reported content will capture the Snap or Story and allow us to more fully assess the situation and take appropriate action.
If you feel someone is in immediate danger, contact your local law enforcement agency right away!
Q. How do I make sure my teen’s Snapchat account is secure?
You should remind your teen never to share their password with anyone for any reason — not even us. Snapchat will never, ever ask for your password. We don’t need it to help you out, no matter what your situation is. If your teen has given any of their account info to an unofficial Snapchat site or friend, and they think their account might be compromised, here is some helpful information about hacked accounts and next steps you can take.
Also, you may want your teen to enable two-factor authentication with Login Verification. If your teen’s account has been hacked, please have your teen report the issue to us as soon as they can!
Q. I want to know what my teen is doing on Snapchat. I think they are not being safe, so can you please give me the login information?
Protecting Snapchatters’ privacy (including your teen’s) is important to us, so we can’t provide you with login information for your teen’s account for legal reasons.
We encourage you to discuss how to use Snapchat safely with your teen directly. If you believe your teen is in danger using the Snapchat app, you can choose to deactivate their account. However, you'll need your teen's username and password to log in and delete their account.
Q. Is my teen’s privacy at risk being on Snapchat?
Protecting Snapchatters’ privacy is very important to us. Please check out our Privacy Centre to learn more. We encourage you to talk to your teen about managing their Privacy Settings and making sure that only their friends can Snap or Chat with them or see their location on Snap Map.
Q. Can Snap block students from accessing Snapchat on their mobile devices through the school's or any other network?
We really appreciate that educators are looking to keep their students safe and focused on their studies. Unfortunately, it’s not technically possible for Snap to block students from accessing Snapchat on specific networks. We encourage parents and educators to talk to their students about appropriate use of social media, including Snapchat, and following applicable school rules.
Educators can also help students understand how and when to report issues and encourage them to be good to their friends and responsible members of the Snapchat, and their own, community.