A Snapchat Guide for Parents of Teenagers

Does your teenager use Snapchat? Then don't miss this Snapchat guide for parents – you'll understand all its features!
A Snapchat Guide for Parents of Teenagers

Last update: 21 March, 2021

Today’s article offers  a helpful Snapchat guide for parents who want to learn more about the app’s features and uses so they can better understand their child’s social networking world. Social media gurus, teen experts, and teens share their thoughts and tips on the app that’s becoming even more popular than Instagram.

Snapchat is a great example of the evolution of social media and gives teens pretty much everything they’re looking for in one app. It’s a way to creatively share choice moments with friends while looking amazing at the same time.

Like all other social networks, video games, and popular teen interest apps, Snapchat has gotten bad press, although it can be beneficial if used correctly. We’ll tell you what you need to know below.

A Snapchat guide for parents

How does Snapchat work?

As with most other social networking apps, all you need is your name, email address, date of birth, and a smart handle to create an account and start searching for friends you know.

Then, when you open Snapchat for the first time, it opens to your camera. While other social networking apps rely on text to initiate and continue communication, Snapchat uses photos or snaps. Teens use snaps to have fun and stay in touch with their friends.

Snapchat guide: Features and terminology

The best features of Snapchat are filters and video chat. Filters allow you to alter your appearance by using the camera to change facial features for fun. Video chat allows you to see each other with your Snapchat friends, similar to Skype and FaceTime.

Below is the most important terminology you need to know.

A Snapchat Guide for Parents of Teenagers

Snap from Snapchat

A photo or video that’s sent through the app. Videos can last up to 10 seconds; snaps are deleted once they’ve been viewed. Stories allow snaps to remain active for 24 hours, and unopened snaps are deleted after 30 days. Before sending a snap, you have to choose how long you want your friend to be able to see it (between 1 and 10 seconds).


This is a gallery of photos and videos that all your Snapchat friends can see. They can also be put together with groups called “group story,” which allows certain people to contribute snaps to a “custom story.” There’s also now a “private story” feature where only the people you choose can see what you post.


Also called streaks, this is when you and a friend connect by snapping each other (you’re in a “snapstreak”). But if you don’t get back to one another within 24 hours for three consecutive days, then you lose your streak.

If you’re in snapstreak, you’ll see a flame emoji next to the name with a number showing how many days you’ve been in the streak. Chats (like text messages) don’t count towards a snapstreak.

Snapchat Score

This is basically a running tally of snaps sent and received, friends added, stories you send, and any other activity on the app. It doesn’t have much significance, but it’s good to know.


Filters are overlays and special effects for images. There are thousands to choose from and they’re added after the photo is taken. Geofilters are uniquely designed to suit your location. These have become increasingly popular with businesses to help raise awareness, as well as special events like concerts.

Snapchat Lens

These give you the option to add animations and other special effects to photos and videos before taking the snap. Teens (and adults) love these because you can transform the photos however you want.


Snapcodes are QR codes that you scan as another way to access features or add friends. You get a custom snapcode when you create an account. However, you can create additional snapcodes that link to personal websites or blogs.

A Snapchat Guide for Parents of Teenagers


Instead of making everything temporary, this feature allows you to create an archive of your Snapchat posts. This is somewhat similar to Flashback Memories, which are anniversaries for your Snap Memories.

Snap Map

This neat feature shows your location in the world, as well as the locations of all your Snapchat friends. Thus, it allows you to have some visibility of what’s happening at that moment around the world. Ghost mode allows you to disable sharing your location.

Friends page

When you’re on the camera screen, you can swipe to the right and find the friends list. This way, teens can easily find the friends they want to share funny pictures or videos with.

Snapchat Discover

When you’re on the camera screen, you can swipe to the left to find a display of “Publisher Stories” and other media partners that are displayed according to each user’s interests and algorithms.


Bitmoji is another product owned by Snap Inc. It’s a cartoon icon that’s your own personal emoji. With this feature, you can create an expressive cartoon avatar that shows all kinds of moods and stickers to represent it.

Other features you’ll see are games, quizzes, friend charms, Snapchat emojis, and trophies, as well as lots of editing and photo tools. You can always find out what’s new on the app’s website.

We’re sure this Snapchat guide will be helpful when it comes to understanding your teen as well as promoting the responsible use of this application.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.