What You Should Know About SnapChat


If you’re using Snapchat, or if your kid is using it, make sure to know everything about the app. There are often hidden risks and dangers that come with chat apps of this kind you should be aware of in order to avoid them. And especially to protect your child on the internet.

How does Snapchat work?

Login to Snapchat

Before the app can be downloaded from the respective app store, the user must agree to grant the application access to his or her contact data, to the Internet, etc. After the app has been installed, the user can log in. To log in, an email address, date of birth, password and user name are required. The personal login data should only be used for the official app and not for apps from so-called third party providers. This makes it more difficult to hack the account via the API interface used by third-party apps.

Settings for Snapchat

The settings for Snapchat can be found under the gear icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Below that are listed, among other things, the account settings, such as the username or the email address you entered during registration.

Under the privacy settings the user can choose from whom he wants to receive picture and video messages, so-called,. Snaps, and with whom he wants to share his stories. Two options are available: Friends and everyone. Stories are snaps that are not only visible for a few seconds, but for 24 hours. These are then listed in the contact list under the respective user name. Under the settings you will also find the Logout button below the Account Actions.

Sending image and video files

By tapping the app’s icon on the smartphone or iPad, the user is taken directly to the recording view. The tile at the bottom left of the display window gives the user an overview of the history of his or her previous communication in Snapchat, as well as the settings.

By clicking on the outline symbol at the bottom right of the display window, the user can access a kind of contact list. In this list not only the usernames of the contacts are displayed, but also their stories. Stories are pictures or videos that are visible to the contacts for 24 hours and are not deleted after a few seconds.

Secure handling of Snapchat

Set privacy setting to “Friends”

In the app’s privacy settings, users can decide whether they want to receive snapshots from friends or from everyone, and whether they want to share their story with friends only or with everyone. Both settings should be set to “Friends” to prevent receiving picture and video messages from strangers or unwanted people. Friends are the people in your contact list. This means that if a person has been added to the contact list, he or she is automatically also a “friend”. Therefore, only people whom the user actually knows and trusts should be added to the contact list.
Block contacts

Snapchat offers the ability to block people in a user’s contact list. To do so, go to the contact list, which lists the usernames of the contacts one below the other. Then click on the username of the user you want to block. The cogwheel symbol is then displayed next to the user name. If you select this, various options are displayed. Among them is also the possibility to block another user.

Conscious use of personal data

Communication via Snapchat is designed to spontaneously share moments with other users. Despite all the spontaneity, you should pause for a moment before sending the pictures and ask yourself if you really want to share these photos with others or if they might be too private after all.

Durability of the data

In Snapchat’s own presentation and in the media there is talk of image and video files being automatically “deleted” or “destroyed” after viewing. In reality, however, the files are only given a different file extension, remain on the end device and can then no longer be read by the relevant gallery apps. With a little technical know-how and patience, the files can be found again in the folders on the device. Snapchat, Inc. also discloses this fact in its privacy policy: ” … there may be ways to access Snaps … even after they are deleted”.

Apart from the fact that the pictures and videos can be found again, it is also possible to create screenshots of a picture. Snapchat makes this more difficult by requiring you to touch the image on your smartphone while pressing the hot key combination for a screenshot. But this is not a real obstacle. If a screenshot has been taken by the recipient of a picture, the sender will be notified by a short message. The iTunes Store also has an app called Screenshot Save Pro for Snapchat that allows you to download all unopened snapshots and save them to your device without notifying the sender.

Location sharing via feature “Snap Map”

With the function “Snap Map” the current location of the friends can be tracked and the own location can be shared with them. Optionally this is possible for all friends or a selected group of people. If you want to use the Snap Map to find others, but do not want to be found yourself, you should activate the “mind mode”. Since the permanent sharing of your own location can also be risky, it is generally recommended to deactivate the location sharing of this function.

Snapchat and privacy

In addition to the login and traffic data (e.g. login details, device information), Snapchat also stores the image and video files on servers in the USA. The image and video files remain on these servers until they are retrieved by the recipient. After that, according to the provider, they are deleted from the servers. This means that the provider can easily access the image and video files not yet retrieved. According to Snapchat, this is the case when it comes to solving crimes.

Interesting Resources about Snapchat:


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