Josh Interviews Four 8th Grade Students About Snapchat Safety

Thank you to the Principal and Counselor at Burnett Jr. High in Wylie, TX for allowing us to learn Instagram and Snapchat safety from four awesome 8th grade students, in the Principal’s office.

During this 16 minute interview, you will learn how students view Snapchat and Instagram — and what they want their parents to know about their online activities.

Here’s what I learned from students:

  1. What is a Snapchat streak?
  2. A Snapchat streak is when two people send photos/videos back and forth on Snapchat for more than two days. Snapchat shows a small icon, of a flame or a small fire, next to someone’s name when they are on a streak with you. Streaks encourage students to keep up with each other and keep their streaks going. This feature gamifies the app for students and increases engagement for the app.

  3. What are the benefits to not having social media as an 8th grader?
  4. You don’t have to worry about extra drama. You don’t have to worry about things people are saying online. There are fewer distractions to worry about it. You can focus on homework a little easier.

    Remember to search for yourself online (even if you’re not on social media).

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  5. How is Instagram different than Snapchat?
  6. Snapchat posts are still there after they’ve expired you just have to dig a little deeper to find them.

    Students on Instagram are more cautious because they know it can be seen by others (students know their posts don’t go away). However, on Snapchat posts are still there after they’ve expired you just have to dig a little deeper to find them. Students feel like they need to work hard to make a better image on Instagram since posts don’t disappear.

    Snapchat is for posting your every day life (being silly and casual) where Instagram is for posting small memories you make with your friends or just with yourself. A lot of friends are on Snapchat to show who they really are. Students feel more comfortable on Snapchat since they feel as though it disappears quickly. Even though Snapchat posts don’t always go away.

    Other people can screenshot your Snapchats (or another student can record it from another phone’s screen).

    Many of the students in the room believed a college might be on Snapchat and Instagram and might find student accounts to research the student’s behaviors.

    Parents should understand that Snapchat helps students keep up with their friends and lets them see what their friends are doing. Students can catch up with each other using Snapchat (as opposed to being on the phone gossiping all the time).

    If a friend is having a bad day, a student can send a funny photo to them to cheer them up.

  7. Do you feel that parents should be on Snapchat?
  8. Students said they like that their parents are on Snapchat and it helps prevent them from doing something bad that could hurt their future. However, students said their friends might not want their parents to follow them and know their boundaries.

  9. What are boundaries on Snapchat?
  10. Don’t follow my friends, but parents can follow me. Don’t talk with all of the kids at school.

  11. What are boundaries on Instagram?
  12. Don’t comment “I love you” or “Have a good day sweetie” it might make students uncomfortable.

    Students were OK with parents posting family photos online.

  13. What’s something bad about social media?
  14. Fake accounts at school post drama about students and the 8th graders said they block that account. Some other people post what’s happening at school and it creates the base for drama. Others might post a photo about a friend and it can cause a rift.

    Social media can hurt friendships.

  15. How do you manage your time on social media?
  16. I tell myself “I need to get this done” and social media will come later.

    I say “this app is going to be here when I’m done, I can go back to it”

    I listen to music instead of going on social media while I’m doing my homework.

  17. What are the benefits to Snapchat?
  18. Snapchat has news options that lets you follow big news companies, who update you on what’s going on in the world. It’s a newspaper for students.

Instagram and Snapchat safety tips for parents

Remember that there’s a boundary to how much you can express yourself online.

Trust your kids to an extent. Every once in a while you have to check their phones because you don’t know what their friends are sending them. Parents sometimes say “I do trust you, son/daughter, it’s the other people I don’t trust.” However, it’s important to remember that there’s a boundary to how much you can express yourself online.

Sometimes parents can trust their kids a little more, but parents need to make sure they aren’t doing anything bad. Give students a little leeway, but not much. If you find something bad on your kid’s social media, let the student explain it before you jump to conclusions. Sometimes social media accounts can get hacked and parents might find it.

Students should delete old accounts they aren’t using. If you’re not monitoring it, go delete it. That account might get hacked and it will change your online reputation for colleges.

Visit our Parent App Guide and look over the Green Zone, Gray Zone, and Red Zone networks to learn more.

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