Is Snapchat free or does the chat app incur any costs?
Downloading and installing Snapchat is free – as is sending and receiving messages, as the app uses the Internet. An Internet connection is therefore required. The mobile phone must therefore be connected to the Internet via WLAN or the “mobile data”.
Mobile data” is limited in many mobile phone contracts: You only have a certain data volume. And especially when you make calls and send large files (e.g. videos), a lot of this data is used up! If the data volume included in the mobile phone contract is used up, there may be additional costs.
It should also be noted: Especially with apps, “free of charge” does not mean free of charge: Those who use Snapchat pay with their data.
By the way, the app is free of advertising – for now! It has already been announced that there will be advertising for 2020.
At what age should children be allowed to use Snapchat? From the age of 10, 13 or 16?
According to the terms and conditions, the minimum age for using Snapchat is 16 years. Teenagers between the ages of 13 and 16 need the consent of their parents.
In fact, there are many reasons to adhere to these guidelines. Snapchat presents a number of issues that are often difficult for such young users to understand. These problems are addressed in the next question.
Do you still tend to allow your child to use Snapchat? Then take a look at our checklist below!
Is Snapchat dangerous for children? What are the risks?
Yes, there are some dangers for children and also problematic elements in Snapchat!
Peer pressure: Children and teenagers are often afraid of not hearing certain discussions. Therefore they want to read and react to all messages immediately.
Intimidating chain letters (“If you don’t send the message to at least 20 people, you’ll be dead tomorrow.”) spread quickly through Snapchat. They unsettle and frighten especially younger people.
Bullying: Especially in the group chats insults, assaults and bullying attacks often occur. Group communication is a particular strain on victims when hostilities and attacks in the group systematically go against a person. Parents who see the need to control their children’s Snapchat in order to protect it, can do so with the help of certain hidden apps or with ordinary parental control apps.
Snapchat stores address book data on its servers during installation. The mobile phone numbers of people who do not use Snapchat are also stored.
Snapchat can still store and use a variety of data: Who is sending a message to whom? How often and when does someone communicate with someone else? When calling via Snapchat: phone number, time of the call, duration of the call.
Of course, some of these issues can arise with other messengers as well. Nevertheless, we will introduce you to individual apps below that offer more security, at least in some areas.
Are there Alternatives to Snapchat? And is it realistic to use them?
Yes, there are various apps that have at least solved the data protection problem much better. But an alternative can only work if friends, acquaintances or colleagues join in. It is always worth trying to convince others to use a more secure mobile phone messenger. So why not get informed and take this information with you to a parents’ evening?
There are also some messengers created directly for children. These are mainly characterized by the fact that parents can control many things. However, it should be remembered that children also have a right to privacy. In addition, friends, relatives, acquaintances must also have the appropriate app installed.
Jugendschutz.net comes to the following conclusion: “The German market lacks safe communication possibilities for children that sufficiently take into account their right to protection as well as their right to privacy.
Snapchat Facts and Figures
Snapchat is the most popular app among 12- and 13-year-olds. YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat (JIM Study 2017) follow at a considerable distance. Worldwide, 0.5 billion people use Snapchat.
Many younger children are also already using Snapchat: in 2016, 12 percent of 8- and 9-year-olds and 35 percent of 10- and 11-year-olds were using Snapchat.
Checklist: Parents should keep this in mind when children want to use or already use a messenger!
Please note that not all rules apply to all messengers.
Parents should …
- ask themselves: Is my child old enough to handle the problems with Snapchat or any other messenger?
- set rules with your child before using (e.g. with the media usage agreement),
- be a good role model in the use of such apps themselves,
Set the Messenger so that others can see as little information as possible,
- deactivate the timestamp of the last online activity (online/last online)
The child should …
- keep his or her own telephone number secret and give it only to people he or she knows personally,
- choose a profile photo carefully or leave the placeholder,
Always block strangers and bullying,
- immediately inform the parents if there is any sign of bullying,
Delete chain letters and pay no attention to them,
- know that it does not always have to answer immediately,
- stop using Smartphone and Snapchat at certain times (for example, during meals and in the evening after a certain time)