September 14, 2023

Privacy Update: How Snapchat is Protecting Students

Known for its unique approach to sharing photos, Snapchat has made a name for itself as a popular platform in the lives of young students. In fact, as of 2022, a reported 59% of US middle schoolers and high schoolers, ages 13-17, are actively using Snapchat. With so many students on the platform and with features like location services and public photo sharing, families and educators wonder how to empower students to use the platform safely without restricting student access. 

In response to many of these safety concerns, Snapchat is adding new safety features for teen users.

Parents and educators’ concerns about Snapchat

According to a 2023 research study, 71% of parents are concerned with their child seeing inappropriate content online, 53% are worried about social media predators, and 54% are worried about student data tracking. To address this growing concern for student safety on social media, Snapchat recently introduced several new safety features to protect its young users.

New features to keep students safe 

In response to these concerns, Snapchat introduced a series of new safety enhancements to protect students that educators should be aware of to empower students to navigate these safety measures and protect their privacy. These measures are not only aimed at protecting students but also at educating them about the potential risks of online interactions.

Warning Labels
One of the new safety features implemented by Snapchat involves the use of a warning alert when students receive friend requests from a stranger. These labels are placed on accounts wanting to connect with student users who do not share mutual contacts. This is a great feature for students to help them avoid potentially dangerous accounts. Snapchat’s goal? To empower students to make informed decisions and think critically about the people asking to follow them on the app.

The Strike System
Snapchat also introduced a strike system designed to curb the sharing of inappropriate content with underage users. Under this system, Snapchat takes swift action against any content that violates its community guidelines. Such content is either detected proactively or reported by vigilant users. In response, Snapchat promptly removes the offending material from its platform. According to Snapchat, “Under this system, we immediately remove inappropriate content that we proactively detect or that gets reported to us. If we see that an account is repeatedly trying to circumvent our rules, we will ban it.”

Educational Resources
For educators and parents, staying up-to-date on the safety and privacy features of different social media platforms is important for keeping students safe online. Snapchat has launched an array of informative resources aimed at both parents and teenagers. These resources include comprehensive guides and links for protecting student safety, as well as articles that provide additional information on social media safety: Such as Snapchat’s digital well-being index and their article on Staying safe with Snapchat AI.

These resources serve as valuable tools to better understand the social media platforms that students navigate daily. They offer insights into the potential risks and challenges that can arise in online environments, equipping parents and educators with information to keep students safe. With this knowledge, parents and educators can engage in more informed conversations and classroom huddles on navigating social media in high-character ways.

Students benefit greatly from these resources because they give students access to new information about their favorite social platforms and modern tech resources, helping them best utilize their time online. By arming students with knowledge and guidance, Snapchat empowers them to make safe choices when interacting with others through the app.

TSI’s Take

With social media becoming more popular with students every day, platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are constantly implementing changes, especially with their privacy policies. It is important for students to be aware of these frequent safety changes on their favorite apps so that they’re empowered to protect their privacy and use social media positively and responsibly. 

In addition, educators play a pivotal role in guiding students through their online world, making it crucial for them to stay informed about the latest safety enhancements on platforms like Snapchat. By staying up to date with social media privacy changes, educators can better inform their students and foster responsible online behavior. They can incorporate these insights into their teachings to ensure students are equipped to navigate social media safely.

To keep up with the ever-changing world of social media, The Social Institute assists educators in empowering their students to make high-character decisions online, and off.  For more updates on social media’s latest and greatest features, check out some of these resources:

  1. Snapchat’s New Feature Reminds Students Of The Importance Of Intentional Interactions: Snapchat’s “Streak” feature is changing to allow students to “renew” their streak when lost, but it isn’t coming for free. This update reminds students to prioritize meaningful conversations online rather than going on Snapchat because of the pressure to stay connected online.
  2. Snapchat Embraces AI To Make It More Accessible To Students: With AI now reaching many people’s favorite social media platforms, it’s important to remind students of how AI can be used positively to assist students in and out of the classrooms, and how to not over-rely on it.
  3. Snapchat Vs. iMessage: The Battle For Students’ Attention In Digital Conversations: With a variety of different ways for students to connect online, it’s important to remind students of the importance of striking a balance with tech, and prioritizing in-person conversations. 

Protecting student privacy is essential for allowing students to enjoy what social media has to offer. Here at The Social Institute, we empower students with our Seven Social Standards, such as Protect Your Privacy Like You’re Famous: Staying in control of our personal information. Our digital platform #WinAtSocial has lessons for grades 3-12 on protecting student privacy, as well as our other social standards. For example, our Grade 8 lesson focuses on examining how free apps and websites use our personal data. 

Not a partner but looking to run lessons similar to this one? Request a demo today of our peer-to-peer technology to help your students protect their privacy online and stay safe across social media. 

Always stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest trends online by subscribing to our newsletter where we talk about trending tech and social media news weekly! In the meantime, check out our Instagram and TikTok @thesocialinst for tips, trends, and highlights when it comes to social media.

The Social Institute (TSI) is the leader in empowering students by understanding students. Through #WinAtSocial, our gamified, peer-to-peer learning platform, we equip students, educators, and families to navigate their social world – in the classroom and beyond, online and offline – in healthy, high-character ways. Our unique, student-respected approach empowers and equips, rather than scares and restricts. We incorporate timely topics about social media, tech use, and current events that are impacting student well-being and learning. #WinAtSocial Lessons teach life skills for the modern day, capture student voice, and provide school leaders with actionable insights. Through these insights, students play an essential role in school efforts to support their own health, happiness, and future success as we enable high-impact teaching, meaningful family conversations, and a healthy school culture.