Snapchat Snaps Back to Ensure Community Safety

digital safety social media news Apr 05, 2024
Snapchat Snaps Back to Ensure Community Safety

By: Madina Ansary,  Seasonal Public Relations Intern | Digital4Good


Hopes for Improved Safety

As more teens use social media, Snapchat has introduced new measures to safeguard users aged 13-17. These safeguards are designed to enhance the user experience and help teens better comprehend online safety practices.


According to Nona Yadegar, director of Design, Strategy and Operations at Snap Inc., the purpose of these updates is to “empower parents to be able to have conversations about online safety with their teens, to better understand Snapchat and to make the decisions that are right for them and their families as it relates to online safety.”


What’s New

In-App Warnings

Teens will be alerted when they receive a request from an individual with no mutual friends. If the contact appears suspicious, the user can report or block them. With no mutual friends, strangers will be less likely to pose as someone you may know. 

Location Sharing

Snap Map, which allows users to view their friends’ locations on a map, is unavailable to teens by default. If a teen user chooses to opt in, they can only share their location with friends they proactively communicate with. 

Strike System

Snapchat will remove accounts that promote age-inappropriate content and ban repeat offenders from creating new accounts. Snapchat has zero tolerance for threats to emotional and physical safety. If a user violates the safety of other users, their account will be automatically disabled. 

Content Control

Teens can only view Stories with content that Snapchat deems age-appropriate. Parents should still engage their teens in conversations about what constitutes “inappropriate” content, but with this restriction, adolescents are less likely to be exposed to age-inappropriate photos and videos. 

Criminal Investigations

Snapchat automatically deletes conversations by default; however, they can be retained if authorities wish to investigate certain content. This will allow parents and teens to report harmful or inappropriate accounts despite not having proof at hand. Snapchat will be able to retrieve previously deleted data to ensure the credibility and completeness of the report.


Creating a Safety Plan 

Snapchat has taken important strides in improving the safety of its platform for younger users, but teens and parents should still remain vigilant against harmful and inappropriate content and behavior, whether on Snapchat or any other social media platform. 

If you, your student, or your child encounter a possible threat, here are some tips from Digital4Good’s Social Media Emergency Plan on how to respond appropriately and ensure the child’s safety.

Step 1: Is It A Threat? 

First, it is crucial to analyze any conflicts that arise. If a situation is perceived as a threat, evaluate its severity and determine whether it poses a high, medium, or low risk.


  • Low Risk Examples: Unlikely to cause campus disruption, generic post with little information, small group peer conflict 
  • Medium Risk Examples: Conflicts between multiple groups, damaging others’ reputations, privacy violations 
  • High Risk Examples: High potential for campus disruption, affects campus safety at large, targeted threats of violence 


Step 2: Investigate and Take It Down 

Teens and parents should gather relevant information to include in their report. This may involve taking screenshots of messages and making note of the individuals following the account. Once all essential details are collected, report the incident to the school or directly to the social media platform. 

Here are some tips for taking down harmful content on social media: 

  • Ask other students to report the page and individual posts.
  • Leave a comment politely asking the page owner to take the page down.
  • Encourage everyone to unfollow the account.
  • Send other parents a message to check if their child is following that account. 

Step 3: Communication 

When teens encounter a problem online, most will keep it to themselves instead of seeking help from an adult. To build trust and transparency with teens, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with popular social media trends, attend school and community events, and learn who your child's friends are. 

If an incident arises that affects multiple students or the school community at large, administrators will need to notify students’ parents and guardians about the threat. To help simplify this process, Digital4Good has created pre-written letter templates to address the most common social media issues. Download them for free in the full Social Media Emergency Plan.

Step 4: Safety Plan 

By establishing measures to address and help prevent future safety concerns, parents, teachers, and students can all play a role in fostering a positive online environment. This plan can look different for various people. For parents, this can be a plan to stay on top of new trends to help you promptly identify social media issues. For students, this can be a resolution to address social media issues respectfully and establish boundaries online. For teachers, this can be an in-class discussion of online safety to highlight preventive actions. 

Step 5: After Action

After an incident has been reported, it’s important to reflect on the process and learn from any mistakes that may have occurred. Consider the following questions:

    • What actually happened? Be sure to differentiate between facts versus opinions and get input from everyone involved.


  • What key factors can we learn from? Consider which parts of the process went smoothly, as well as areas for improvement.
  • What’s the biggest lesson you learned? 


Key Takeaways

As technology develops and new issues arise, social media features will be continually updated to improve users’ experiences. Parents and educators should stay on top of these updates to help teens safely and responsibly navigate this evolving digital landscape. 



Social Media Emergency Plan

Have a plan for your school when dangers and threats arise. Download for FREE today! 




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