Even if it is just an accidental lapse in judgment, it takes only one shared photo from a slumber party to bring about a whole lot of headaches. Which is why I’m so excited about a new parental monitoring app that keeps an eye on their activity and is ready to strike on a moment’s notice.
SnapCat is an ingeniuous app that stealthily lurks in the background of my girls’ iOS devices, doing nothing until they try to share a photo of questionable taste.
For instance, if my 12 year old were to share a photo of herself wearing her new bikini to her 1,300+ Snapchat “friends,” SnapCat would spring into action by automatically replacing her photo with one of more than 500 adorable kittens. Hilarious!
I am then sent the blocked photo, which is delivered with an audible MEOW on my device, so I can deal with my errant tween. Yeah, the meow sound can get a bit annoying, especially if you have a particularly—ahem—social child, though it can be turned off in the custom settings.
Another genius feature: By selecting the closest skin-tone shade for my family, SnapCat instantly scans outgoing photos for visible skin. If it “sees” more than 50% bare skin on any body, it will automatically replace the photo.
It’s not perfect, in that even some close-up “selfies” get caught in SnapCat’s claws, but a parent can easily override SnapCat with just a click from their own device.
Thankfully, I have only had one SnapCat alert pounce onto my iPhone, and it was only my ten-year-old daughter sharing a photo of her midriff-baring dance costume to her Instagram friends. In that case, I did override SnapCat and let the photo through.
Future SnapCat updates will also alert parents to outgoing or incoming texts that contain any keywords like “sneak,” “beer,” “party,” and various euphemisms for drugs, as well as curse words and myriad sexual terms.
Is this helicopter parenting taken to new heights? Perhaps. But we all know that when the cat’s away, the mice will play. So I’m thankful to have SnapCat’s eyes watching all the time. -Christina
Download SnapCat for iOS which is free today, April 1 only.