The Children’s Commissioner of England has sent out a strong word of caution to parents concerning kids and the use of Snapchat. “For parents, I would just think, unless you’re very sure just don’t let your kids on SnapChat”, she advised.
Independent Government adviser, Anne Longfield, is concerned because she thinks the app was one of the “most troubling”. The app has many addictive features and kids get stuck on it quick, Anne implied. All these concerns follow the recent revelations on the percentage of under-aged users on both Instagram and Snapchat. Apparently, a striking half of UK’s 11-year olds use these apps in spite of the 13-year old age limit.
Anne expressed these views during a debate on cyber-bullying on LBC radio. Snapchat has a feature called “streaks”, that connects kids to friends daily and if not, you’d lose your online friendship. This feature is disturbing, explains Anne. “It’s Snapchat that has particularly addictive elements where you have to streak with friends and to keep in friendship”.
Still speaking to LBC, Anne definitely has made efforts to curb this. “There’s a lot to be explained there and certainly I’m seeking a meeting with Snapchat. They did agree to meet with me, but that fell through for a number of reasons. But they have agreed to meet with me and these are the things I want to be putting to them.”
Furthermore, there have been various unpleasant happenings involving children on the platform. There has been a very recent incident where a video of 13-year old kids having sex is circulating on the app. Certainly app developers have to restructure the age limits and the way of checking it for users. Looks like it is very easy to cheat these apps.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat all claim that users have to be 13 to use their app. Yet none demand any proof. An Ofcom report at the end of November last year, said 51% of 12 year-olds have social media accounts, along with 46% of 11 year-olds.