Snapchat’s interface has been a topic of conflict for some users of the app. It’s a bit counter-intuitive and there hasn’t been any simple way to find and connect with other users. Discover, Stories, and group chat have been parts of recent updates that seem to be an attempt to attract more users to the app. Their newest update is an attempt to simplify the experience with a search bar.
The development team has used this update as an opportunity to replace the search bars located at different sections of the app with one centrally located search tool that will search the entire app. Not only will users be able to find their friend’s most recent stories, the group chats and stories they’ve been apart of, and stories related to the same event or location, but they’ll also be able to find users they don’t yet follow and stories from “Discover Media” partners as well. That crazy article they heard their friends talking about is now just a search away, whether they follow the poster or not.
The update is starting slow and rolling out to Android users first. It will be available on iOS very soon though. Snapchat’s user-base is growing steadily and the majority of their users (sixty percent) are under 24 years old. While it’s popularity with millennials is growing their teen user numbers aren’t dwindling so your son or daughter are likely to use Snapchat or if they don’t they probably want to.
What Parents Should Know
Whether or not Snapchat is a no-go for your family is obviously up to you. It’s important, either way, to understand the functions and purpose of the app. The main goal of Snapchat is social connection. That’s all well and good between your kids and their friends, the concern is the access that brands have to the users of the app. Gone are the days when you could go to the bathroom and miss or just sit and ignore a commercial. We are raising our children in a world where the brands they use allow them to become fans and communicate directly to them.
This new update will make it even easier for your kid or teen to become a follower of their favorite celebrity or product. If you prefer to have some kind of say over what products and famous people are able to share their “message” with your children then you should pay very close attention to Snapchat and apps like it. (Instagram, Musical.ly) On iOS you can use Family Sharing to keep an eye on what your kids are downloading. If you don’t want to or can’t set-up Family Sharing then the old fashion take the phone and give it a look is always a good option as well. Either way, don’t ignore the messages your children are getting through their social media accounts. You may be surprised how different those messages may be than the lessons you try to teach them every day.