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Snapchat: What a parent needs to know

What are your thoughts on primary school children and young teenagers having their own social media accounts?


If you have mixed feelings about giving your tween or young teen access - please keep reading and hear what I am learning about this topic. 


As a parent my biggest fear is for my child to be left out or not feeling that he or she contributes in their own way. 


I would go as far as assuming that this is the reason for the phenomenal success of social media in this present day. 


Being able to connect with like-minded parents and educators has been a transformational experience in my own life which I would not want to miss.


When it comes to the developing brain of our children, I have always been on the side of caution.


We are part of something really new and most of us need to figure it out as we go along. 


My now 13-year-old daughter was the last child to receive her own phone in her circle of friends before last Summer. 


Due to lack of clarity on my part, I fell into the pressure and assumed a smartphone was required for her next level of education. 


Today I am learning that this was not the truth. 


Would a more basic device have been enough?


Her phone was bought in early May 2023.


The month that followed was hands down the most devastating and discouraging for me as a mother. 


Her agreeable nature and her signing our family media agreement in the lead up to it, had completely gone out the window.


I was at a loss and did not know what had changed her so drastically.


Was it :


☄️ teenage hormones 


☄️ fear of transition to a new school and finding new friends or


☄️ was she too young to own a gadget created with adults in mind?


By the end of it all, I received a few days of 😶.


After no approach I tried was working, I had to speak my truth. 


She teased out my actual reason for not allowing her to join her friends on Snapchat.


I shared that I was not ready to give strangers and fully grown men and women access to her. 


For some parents there is no danger in that.


For others like me: a survivor of sexual, emotional and physical abuse - I was filled with uncertainty. 


Am I saying that children are automatically someone’s prey when they join social media?


Absolutely not as I don’t have all the answers either. 


However, my firm boundary and saying No to my child having access to more than:


🌱 Whats App for family and local friends


🌱 Duolingo to learn French


🌱 Music


🌱 Podcasts 


🌱 Weather App


🌱 Google Classroom


🌱 Daily Affirmations 


🌱 School App


🌱 and a couple more


turned out to be a hard decision short-term and a better decision long-term. 


Her school year’s Snapchat account was targeted with a video earlier this month that was full of gore. 


Despite being a grown woman, I don’t believe I could have stomached the harrowing and frightening images - these young people saw. 


Again, some might say this is part of the digital world and is outside a parent’s control. 


Here is the heartbreaking bit.


A child is often looking forward to enjoying privileges of our adult world. 


In fear of having their device removed, I have found out that many fellow parents didn’t even know about the possible trauma their child may have experienced. 


What I am observing is the complete overwhelm for mums and dads when it comes to knowing where to start to set limits. 


Having been a teenager myself as well as you who reads this, we know that we are often a step ahead when it comes to our astute adolescent mind. 


I call this evolution which is a hopeful development and moves humanity forward. 


What is the solution to this complex topic?



In my opinion we can see technology as being part of our lives instead of the be-all and end-all.


My suggestion is to stop using phones and tablets as the reward and punishment replacement they have become.


Learning to co-operate is a necessary skill and part of the journey for future interactions with fellow human beings. 


As a parent educator I hear the following a lot:


 “if I didn’t use screen time as an incentive, my child wouldn’t contribute or listen at all anymore."


I believe that my client has the wisdom inside and I simply help her or him to remember more effective tools for motivating others that feel truly empowering.  


The strong gut feeling everyone has - is an inner knowing how children need to be raised and a bond for life is formed. 


The longterm impact of rewarding a future adult with external means is, in my opinion, what hands the power of an individual’s happiness to the outside world. 


When a reward is removed or not given, it is often perceived as punishment.


This is the biggest trust deal-breaker I am observing in parenting. 


When I was 13, I secretly watched “The silence of the Lambs”. 


At the time I didn’t have the words to describe what the psychologically intense scenes did to me. 


My parents never found out and the fear of this fictional story has been accompanying me for 3 decades.  


Today it is hard to discern if online images are real or generated by Artificial Intelligence.  


My question to parents is: what are we saying Yes to?


After asking trusted friends and fellow parents for advice, I came to a conclusion. 


We shared with our children last week that we would not take their devices should they ever receive content that was unfortunately or mistakenly sent to them.


Resilience is built when a child experiences that hardship, disappointment and not being the same as everyone else - can be overcome. 


My almost 14-year-old accepted her phone without Snapchat for now and in her words:

“So will everyone else.”


A parent makes decisions with the knowledge they have at the time.


When later he or she finds more information that may jeopardise the protection of their child going forward - it is ok to change one’s mind. 


On many occasions I have revoked a decision and said to my children:


“Children, I made a mistake for which I apologise. 

I no longer allow … , because ...

What can we do together to get through this?”


A family leader taking ownership and admitting to making mistakes, not only shows to ourselves that we are capable of taking accountability - it also gives permission to a child when things go wrong.


Every parenting challenge is a golden opportunity to communicate to our child:


‘I love and accept you for who you are.’ 


Book a call with me and find out if you can course-correct after a decision made in the past or that needs to be made for a child’s future. 


Everyone is in control of their own life and it is never too late.


Click here for a free opportunity to speak.

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