It may have all started with “secret” messaging but it hasn’t stopped there. Soon public sharing became the norm on Snapchat, a feature that was copied by many other Social Media networks soon after it’s release. Then, Snapchat’s “Discover” page was released, this was a way for news and media corporations to reach the users of Snapchat with their messages and advertising. Lately, Snap Inc. has been working towards becoming a serious form of entertainment for it’s users, incorporating videos and even original show content into their network. Today, VICELAND has announced they’re producing several new shows exclusively for Snapchat. They’re starting with a “reality” dating show titled “Hungry Hearts with Action Bronson.”
VICELAND Productions is following several other studios in making original shows for Snapchat. Networks including NBC, CBS, and A&E have already announced that they’re making versions of their existing shows for viewing on Snapchat. These studios are seeing the growing adoption of Snapchat as an opportunity to reach a broader audience with their shows and content. One of the fastest growing demographics on Snapchat is the 18-35 age-group, one of the main target audiences for the late night and primetime television networks. With this trend towards entertainment content on our social media apps, it’s important that parents are aware of what these apps are becoming, we have to make good decisions on whether or not we want our kids consuming the media they’re producing.
What Parents Should Know
Snapchat isn’t a trend and it’s not just a messenger anymore. What was once the “Secret Message App” or the “Sexting App,” as some called it, is now a major source of media for those who use the social media platform. This means we have to treat it differently than we do many social media apps. Keeping track of who they are friends with on these networks isn’t enough anymore. We have to keep a few things in mind if we are going to allow our kids to use Snapchat, Instagram, or any of these other apps that give advertisers and media content creators a direct outlet to our kids.
Same Media as TV, Movies, YouTube, or Games.
The creators of the content that will be made available through social media (Facebook has been signing agreements with media companies too) aren’t producing special more family appropriate shows. They will be making content that will reflect every other media outlet they produce for. Think YouTube Red, Netflix, or Amazon Prime. In fact, some of the rules that apply to broadcast television don’t apply to shows that are streamed online. This means that you’re more likely to see content like on Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black than something with more restrictions like Blacklist or CSI. Don’t let the fact that these programs are being produced for free public streaming online fool you. They won’t be family friendly or edited for content.
No Parental Control
Snapchat currently has no parental control options. Their app is geared towards teenagers so they most likely won’t feel the need to add parental restrictions any time soon. The terms and agreements on most social media services allow for accounts to be created as long as you’re 13 years old or older. The question you have to ask is whether or not you’re ok with your 14-15 year old watching online reality dating shows or politically fueled sketch comedy. If you aren’t ok with these things then you have to make a choice about whether or not snapchat is welcomed on your kid’s phones or tablets.
All or Nothing
Social media apps are basically creating an “all or nothing” atmosphere for content created by these media outlets. Once you have an account on Snapchat, you have access to all that is contained in the app. Every person can be a friend or follower, every feed can be found and viewed, and every original show, no matter the target audience, will be available for viewing. With no parental control options the question isn’t what Snapchat content will be allowed, it’s “all or nothing.” They can see all of it, or none of it, those are your only choices.
Whatever you choose, you need to be educated about what these social media apps are producing. Keep checking in to Safe.BecauseFamily.org for up to date tech news that’s relevant for your family. Also, sign up for our Safe Online Newsletter. Just fill in the short form below.