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Use (and abuse?) of snapchat by secondary school children

(51 Posts)
ealingwestmum Fri 10-Jun-16 11:12:03

Interested in your experiences of snapchat in secondary school...

My DD (nearly 13, Y7) - a typical active preteen who likes school academically and socially, and uses the usual mix of social media apps (text, IG, whatsapp, MusicLY). But, I've said no to snapchat, even though most her peers use it.

Whilst mature in some ways, she has fallen into every social media cliche of receiving some unpleasant interactions from some, even with the heads up from me of what to expect from the minority of those that way inclined. I have full access to her phone, check regularly with her knowledge and support her through these exchanges when needed. It stays outside her room charging whilst her peer group-message through the small hours. She's relieved she's out of it for most of the time due to extra curricular stuff and need for sleep but knows she is distanced from her circle as a consequence.

Twice now she's requested snapchat (without really understanding how its used/can be used), thinking its all about the dog ears and tongue shots. I have never been overly protective, but feel it's one app too many for her that could subject her to more targeting, and that what she cannot see (directly) at this stage is one less thing for her to stress over until she develops a deeper understanding on the pros/cons of SM interaction.

My husband thought I was being over-protective until this week, when a colleague of his was dismissed for posting a derogatory video of another colleague.

How are your experiences of snapchat with your children? I am fully conscious of the weird world our children now live in (that will only continue) and don't want to make a social pariah out of her, but know she is already overwhelmed by the sophistication of some that choose to use comms negatively.

2Girls2Souls Fri 10-Jun-16 19:06:48

My personal view is a big NO to snapchat , even Instagram and few others , our DD is allowed messages and emails and that satisfies her fully , by her own admission she feels very much in control who she talks to and who she doesn't want talk to .
But I haven't got any experience of it myself .

gleegeek Fri 10-Jun-16 19:29:07

I'm watching with interest! Dd has instagram but we haven't installed snap chat yet. I don't like the idea messages disappear instantly and feel it's the ideal bullying tool. However I've noticed fewer of dds peers are on Instagram now - assume they've gone to Snap chat - and worry Dd is missing out on a social connection... difficult isn't it???

TaIkinPeace Fri 10-Jun-16 20:49:35

If you ban snapchat, FB, instagram, any of them
what will happen is that your child will get another phone that you do not know about

far better is to say "yeah, whatever" and randomly request to look over their shoulder

snapchat wars can be really funny (even if one nearly broke my bath)

the parents who think their kids are not on those sites are just deluded

chocolateworshipper Fri 10-Jun-16 22:30:03

Look into WhatsApp - last time I checked, you had to be 16 to use it. DD found out that a bunch of people in her year had set up a WhatsApp group-chat dedicated to how much they hate her and how they wanted to kill her. Needless to say, that was reported to school and to the WhatsApp provider. With SnapChat, one of the things you need to be aware of is that although the app itself doesn't allow you to save images, there are other apps you can obtain that allow you to save images on SnapChat. It is also possible to use another device to capture the image. Therefore she needs to know that it ISN'T safe to send any photo that you don't want lots of other people to see. I would also suggest that she isn't allowed to have a device in her bedroom at night - it scares me silly that some children are in their bedrooms alone in a dark room with access to social media and all the potential bullying that involves.

BeautifulMaudOHara Fri 10-Jun-16 22:37:17

NFW to snapchat
It's mainly used for sexting

Honestly, why otherwise would you want a photo to disappear after 10 seconds?

FuzzyOwl Fri 10-Jun-16 22:43:26

chocolate you can take screenshots of Snapchat; no need to use another device to capture the image at all.

TaIkinPeace Fri 10-Jun-16 22:46:15


snapchat is 24 / 7
on the bus to school
at lunch
on the way home from school


charlstraw Fri 10-Jun-16 23:18:44

If they have an iphone you can block them from using apps which includes snapchat.

ealingwestmum Sat 11-Jun-16 01:14:58

Thanks all for your replies. Tricky balance I guess. I don't have an issue with Whatsapp because it keeps a trail and is inclusive without her having to actively participate. But, as with everything, they migrate off platforms like IG (albeit slowly) to SC as the new hangout, as gleegeek says which is where some of the kids are having issues. I cannot even imagine her asking for FB it's so old!

The trust issue isn't so much with her as I do have full transparency, it's with the incoming stuff and speed it all comes in at.

Talkin fair point re buying another phone...she wouldn't have the funds nor knowhow right now!

ealingwestmum Sat 11-Jun-16 01:23:50

and chocolate, sorry to hear of your DD's experiences, a thread about all about her sounds horrible

chocolateworshipper Sat 11-Jun-16 10:03:59

TalkinPeace - your life must be really flipping miserable for you to attack another MNer for no good reason. People come on here asking for opinions and experience - and that is what I shared. My DD has self-harmed and taken two overdoses (partly because of social media and partly because of face-to-face bullying - you can't escape it by denying one app) and I live in constant fear every time the phone rings, yet I don't attack people on this site. God only knows what awful things must have happened to you to make you so miserable.

fuckincuntbuggerinarse Sat 11-Jun-16 10:06:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

apple1992 Sat 11-Jun-16 10:12:38

I hate it! As a teacher, it causes all sorts of issues. Snapchat... Instagram.. Whatsapp the lot. This social media generation is a nightmare!!

CodyKing Sat 11-Jun-16 10:21:44

chocolate you can take screenshots of Snapchat; no need to use another device to capture the image at all

If you screens hot the image it tell the sender you have done so - which causes more issues

Yes to screen shot with another devise

DD was bullied via snap chat and I captured all the images on an ipod as proof
Snap chat makes teens think they're invinciblet

Instagram - I have seen groups set up under a false name - Y7 tell all for example and the email address and password past round so no "user" name is shown - they do it anonymously - it's scary and sad that our kids think this is normal

WhatsApp is good but it's down to the user

TaIkinPeace Sat 11-Jun-16 21:26:31

basic phones that will do the job are £20
understand that "banning" is utterly pointless
work WITH your kid and the reality of modern secondary schools
not against them

GrumpyMcGrumpFace Sat 11-Jun-16 21:34:30

there's banning and banning though... I have a DD the same age, and there are things she's pretty much asked me to tell her she can't have, or can't go to, because she feels out of her depth with them and wants the excuse to be able to say "well I would, but Mum says I can't". This has included Snapchat - she's already seen one of her friends get into trouble with it, so she's quite keen not to use it atm at least.

I agree though, it's better not to make a power game or be confrontational about it, but to keep all channels of communication open. Home and parents should really be a safe place where you can talk things through, because school and social media are pretty confusing (and sometimes pretty horrible). I'm glad I was born 40+ years ago tbh!

flowers to chocolate, my heart goes out to you.

charlstraw Sat 11-Jun-16 22:18:32

There is a program called Teensafe, it allows you to view DC incoming outgoing calls, read Instagram posts and more. I came to close to signing on to this but then decided against it as DS seemed to be doing fine.

TaIkinPeace Sat 11-Jun-16 22:23:23

those programmes assume that you know about all of the phones
please do not assume that
teach your kids to be open and honest and resilient
its much safer in the long run

ealingwestmum Sat 11-Jun-16 23:00:33

I am getting what you are saying Talkin, and not saying she'll never be the kind of girl that would go behind my back either.

Before I started this thread, I asked her why she wanted it, how would she use it etc etc. She didn't really know, because she didn't know enough about it. For that reason I continued to say no, as with anything, if she couldn't give me the headline value to her then the answer's with anything. Because saying 'well everyone's got it', is just not a good enough reason.

We had a long chat today, and I finally got down to the why. Really rationale, lots about what had been going on, how she's perceived at school (too dull for here), and the outcome is I've given her access. I am disappointed that she's needed to play the game (for want of a better expression) but that's her motive, to slip under the radar a little by not being the standout. She thinks this is a better strategy than dumbing down certain strengths of hers which disappointingly this year she has, albeit sub-consciously, and as a result things like her music have suffered, but recoverable next year now she's admitted to stuff.

I agree with the resilience. I am lucky she is open (for now). But, I had held off access because of her reactions to date on what she had been subjected to. Some of it btw is SO subtle, these kids are not just about in your face, they know how to deliver their negative messages really cleverly and often by unknowing third party posts/threads that feed back to her...some really sophisticated operators out there.

Our debate today included the comments made on here so thank you all for taking time to respond, tips and experiences.

Let's see...

needacar Sat 11-Jun-16 23:09:07


If you ban snapchat, FB, instagram, any of them
what will happen is that your child will get another phone that you do not know about

How the fuck my dd is going to sort a secret phone is beyond me.

OP if you don't want your dd to have snapchat then say no.

Both older dcs have it with no ill effects. I've said no way to my 10 year old.

ealingwestmum Sat 11-Jun-16 23:12:42

and wants the excuse to be able to say "well I would, but Mum says I can't".

We were exactly here a while ago Grumpy. She now feels brave enough to not hide behind me but knows I can still be backstop interpreting/helping her respond when needed by adhoc checking

Except she's more on her own on the snapchat front due to its different functionality...she's aware of this now

Marilynsbigsister Sun 12-Jun-16 06:46:20

It's about trust. The more you 'ban' the less you will have.
A teen who has no fear of draconian reprisals and a parent who respects their right to privacy, will have a young person who will consider you the FIRST port of call with any problems.

I have 6 teens, One twenty and one 12. They are all 'allowed' snapchat. All thriving/thrived at school/uni. Never had a days worry about social media beyond the usual amdram about 'who's friends with who' and 'who's nicked who's boyfriend'

goodbyestranger Sun 12-Jun-16 09:44:23

Same as Marilyn. I have three teens and five in their early twenties who have always had unrestricted access to any form of social media they wanted to the extent that I'm not sure who has what. I have always avoided joining fb precisely to preserve their privacy. Very occasionally one or other will show me something (usually a sibling pic) or take a pic for snapchat when we're out together. No harm has come of it at all. I would have thought that respecting privacy and allowing a degree of freedom is the way to go. I'd have thought you were more likely to get wind of a problem that way (because they're more likely to tell you) than attempting to pre-empt one by restricting what they use.

ealingwestmum Sun 12-Jun-16 10:49:02

Good to hear some parents' children have got through their teenage years with no negative issues from social media.

Right to privacy and access to their engagement however I believe are 2 different things. My daughter has asked me from receipt of a phone (from Y7) to check her apps. Because she knows she has a level of naivety, but she's learning slowly, and often through mistakes which is fine.

I let her walk to school in Y5 and 6 alone, travel around zones 1-3 all Y7 on her own, not worry if a bus gets diverted...but come home and make herself something to eat and be alone for a few hours...nope, she can't cope with that one (she's too scared). So I am gauging what degree of freedom I give her based on her maturity with stuff. We don't have parental controls on home IT and there are no reprisals when she's come down in a state to say someone's asking for $500 or they'll report her and melt down her laptop (because she's clicked on something she should't have). Very open and direct (ok, me more so that DH).

I know it's a cliche to say I can control (to a certain extent) my own driving, but not the 99% of other drivers. I would therefore phase a newly passed driver of driving alone until they were more confident of managing the roads. So I am trying to move the balance of risk slowly to her as she gets more experienced with social media, as agreed with her. may sound dramatic, but it's based on what she's been exposed to so far.

I obviously don't think all SM interaction is negative. But cannot not ignore the fact that her already short exposure has been, by a small but influential few. And she's needing help in managing this as she gets more streetwise.

And she may be more insecure than other parents' children on here...she's so different on SM to what she is like in real life, but is what she is.

I am very appreciative of everyone's views on this...thank you.

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