Snapchat is the app that makes many parents nervous. It’s easy to see why kids love it: it has a cool vibe, messages that vanish, and fun filters to play with. But it also has a dark side: Snapchat sexting. This is when kids send or receive sexual messages, photos, or videos on the app. It’s very common among Gen Z, who make up most of the users. And it can be very risky for their safety and well-being. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know as a parent about Snapchat sexting — and how you can help your kids stay safe.

What Worries Parents About Snapchat

Some people say that nowadays, “sexting is the new first base.” This means that sexting — sending naked pictures or dirty messages — is something that many people do quickly, easily, and without thinking much. Because it seems like everyone is doing it, some kids might feel forced to send photos they don’t really want to. It doesn’t matter if a kid wants to sext or not, they will be judged or compared by others for their choice. This can be very stressful (and unfair).

Parents are scared that kids will send images that could hurt them for a long time. They are also worried that kids might see things that are not suitable for their age, or even get in touch with dangerous strangers.

Sending explicit content through Snapchat has always posed risks

Ever since its inception, Snapchat has gained a reputation as the go-to app for sexting, thanks to its feature that makes messages vanish within a few seconds of being opened. However, users have always found ways to bypass this limitation. If you’re quick on the draw, taking screenshots is an option, even though it triggers an alert for the sender – but that doesn’t necessarily deter you.

Another tactic to capture a “disappearing message” involves taking a photo with another phone or tablet, sidestepping the screenshot alert. Both of these workarounds allow you to preserve the image, giving you the ability to share, spread, or send it to as many people as you desire. In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, this means the image can potentially reach thousands of people within just a few seconds.

Signs Your Teen Might Be Engaged in Snapchat Sexting

When it comes to the idea of your teen sexting, it’s easy to believe, “not my kid.” However, our 2022 data indicates that 62.4% of tweens and 82.2% of teens have encountered nudity or sexual content online. If you’re concerned that your child might be involved in Snapchat sexting, watch out for these warning signs, especially if they:

  1. Become overly protective of their phone.
  2. Use their phone in a way that shields their actions from others.
  3. React angrily or defensively when questioned about their privacy.
  4. Experience a decline in school performance or neglect household responsibilities.
  5. Withdraw from friends and spend an excessive amount of time on their smartphone or with a specific person.

How to Approach Your Teen About Snapchat Sexting

Whether you’ve discovered that your child is sexting on Snapchat or you want to be prepared if it happens, addressing the issue is undoubtedly complex. Check out our detailed blog post on what to do if your child is sending nudes for conversation starters. Here are a few additional steps you can take to educate your child about the risks of Snapchat sexting:

  1. Emphasize that nothing online is truly private, including Snapchat photos.
  2. Discuss the legal consequences that can arise from sexting.
  3. Recognize the pressures they may be facing rather than dismissing them.
  4. Before delving into the risks, initiate a conversation about age-appropriate sexual curiosity. Your child might be experimenting with sexting due to peer pressure or an adolescent interest in sex. It can be helpful to discuss your family’s values on sexual content so your child understands your perspective.

For parents navigating the world of teens and tweens, Snapchat sexting can be a challenging situation to address. Not only because of the genuine dangers it poses but also because it signals that your kids are exploring new ways to express themselves. They might be trying to emulate adult behavior. As always, we recommend ongoing conversations about online safety as your kids approach adulthood, regardless of how difficult or awkward these discussions may be. We assure you, it’s worth the effort.