I am not going to say “I told you so!” when it comes to Snapchat, but it’s mighty tempting after the recent launch of Cosmopolitan’s new Cosmo After Dark stories that go live every Friday at 6pm EDT. And hey, I even wrote a book about sex for parents. Let’s just say this is not something you want your kids happening upon.
Edited with note from Snapchat, below.
Related: Kristen chats on Facebook LIVE about Cosmo After Dark on Snapchat
If your kids are on Snapchat, and you have no idea how it works, I suggest you go right this moment and figure it out. Then come back here and read this post.
Related: Beyond Snapchat – 12 risky apps parents should know about
You’ll need to search for it. Here’s what pops up.
And for those of you who are familiar with Snapchat, then I suggest you take a long hard look at what content your kids might be engaging with. It’s not just fun disappearing videos and photos between friends, or silly stories about their days. Snapchat hosts a growing number of publishers that produce content specifically for Snapchat. Some of it is super informative (hey, Mashable, what’s up?), and some of it is, well, not so awesome for kids. You can peruse the story, then swipe up to longer form articles for more.
Would a grown-up like to know X-rated stories from sex parties? Maybe… but does your tween or teen? I’ll say “no” for me, and leave that answer up to you.
Related: The big issue with Snapchat’s Snap Maps that no one is talking about
The issue that we here at Cool Mom Tech have long had with Snapchat is that it’s pretty challenging for parents to monitor. Actually, it’s nearly impossible. And now as they continue to add more content, which is clearly aimed for adults (and by the way, not just Cosmo. Check out Esquire’s stories as well), our concern that there are no parental controls in this app is reaching high levels.
Until Snapchat comes to grips with the fact that kids are on this app, even though they legally need to be 13 (sorry, still too young to learn which porn to binge watch, Cosmo), we’ll be steering clear of it. If your kids remain Snapchat users, we suggest you talk to them about the content that they’re sharing and consuming on a regular basis, and continue to encourage them to make smart, healthy choices.
Editor’s Note: We heard from Snap earlier today, and they clarified that this content was age-gated, which means no one under the age of 18 should have access to it. This feature was released to publishers and is a requirement for certain types of content. However, if kids use your phones, then they will have access to this. They also noted that Cosmo did release some content last Friday that violated their terms and it was removed.
Can’t the child just lie about their age?
Sure. Particularly if you allow your underage child to use social media without your supervision or input.