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The Pros and Cons of Snapchat on Kids' Mental Health

Updated: Dec 27, 2021

What is Snapchat?

“Snapchat is a popular messaging app that lets users exchange pictures and videos (called snaps) that are meant to disappear after they're viewed. It's advertised as a 'new type of camera' because the essential function is to take a picture or video, add filters, lenses, or other effects and share them with friends.” - Christine Elgersma

Some people believe that Snapchat can be damaging to the mental health of youth, while others argue that the pros of using the app outweigh the cons. In the end, there are arguments on both sides of the story. Today, we will be exploring the pros and cons of using Snapchat and how this app may affect kids’ mental health.

The Pros of Using Snapchat

Here are some of the best reasons to use Snapchat.

  • Snapchat is very creative.

  • Snapchat is more about chatting with friends in real-time than posting status updates, like some of the other apps, allowing teens to build and maintain friendships.

  • ‘Snaps’ (messages sent to groups of friends) disappear after 10 seconds after they are opened. Stories remain for 24 hours, but can be saved to ‘memories.’ and shared as Chat Media.

  • Kids report feeling silly, on the app and enjoy using the Snapchat filters.

  • The content length for Snapchat is quite short, making it fun to create and easy to consume.

The Cons of Using Snapchat

According to teen Snapchat statistics, people under the age of 25 use Snapchat at least 30-40 minutes per day, which is more than they use any other social media platform. While Instagram and Facebook are popular, Snapchat exceeds the popularity of the two, with users 25 and under visiting this app more than 20 times each day.

According to Business Insider, ABC News, and Psychology Today, Snapchat can be "addictive" for teenagers and should not be used in excess. However, the exact opposite is happening. Here are some cons of using this app.

  • The more streaks someone has on this app, the more popular they are on the platform. Having multiple streaks on Snapchat makes kids want to spend even more time on the app. Many kids use Snapchat to become more popular and as a means of social integration. When this doesn’t happen, they end up disappointed and sad, which can be damaging to their mental health.

  • Kids can share their info with strangers on this app and be quickly located. Snapchat settings can put kids in danger by allowing anyone to follow their account.

  • According to this research, Snapchat can be a trigger for anxiety and depression, especially for kids who use it more than two hours per day.

  • “​Important ⚠️ Snapchatters who see the posts of others can always potentially save them, whether by taking a screenshot or by using some other image-capture technology (whether that be a separate piece of software, or even simply taking a photo of their screen with a second camera).” -Snapchat

  • Both women and men have experienced body image issues as a result of using the app. Snapchat filters distort the user’s face or body shape, which can result in self-shaming once the filter disappears. Plus, users compare themselves to their peers when using this app, which can be damaging to their self-confidence. Once confidence is lost, it is easier for anxiety to settle in.

  • Cyberbullying is another downside of using Snapchat. Cyberbullying can put kids at risk for mental health issues & social problems.

  • Many studies have shown that using social media platforms can decrease the quality of sleep, which can be damaging to kids’ health.

  • Fear of Missing Out or FOMO is another downside of using Snapchat.

Like just about every social media platform out there, expect both pros and cons when using them. Remember, it is not the platform, but the user that determines how they are used. Parents need to check in with their kids to ensure they are using platforms safely, wisely, and age-appropriately.

Visit the Cyberwise Snapchat Hub to Learn More

About the Author:

Jake S. Platt is 31. He has a master’s degree in marketing and currently started his way as a content writer at a custom essay service. He wrote his first story at age 15, and now brings his decades of experience to inspire people to explore the world of marketing.

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