Snapchat becomes computer friendly; vet cybercop raises parental concerns

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – For the first time since Snapchat, hit the App Store in 2011, you can now open up your laptop to snapchat.com and send pictures or videos to your friends.

While this new development may have its perks, one veteran cyber cop wants parents to consider these new safety implications.

Cyber Safe Families Founder Mike Lemon said, “Now, all of a sudden, if you’re using a monitor app, that’s supposed to be monitoring the Snapchat app on the phone, maybe it’s not monitoring what’s happening on the browser. So, now you’re kind of blind to what that what’s going on on the browser side.”

You might think, why are parental controls such a concern? Snapchat users are supposed to be ages 13 and up. Well, Lemon sites this data from a group of third graders surveyed:

“80 percent of them are already on Snapchat or TikTok or whatever. You see, any app [of this nature], you’re supposed to be 13 years old, but kids are on there as young as four or five years old. And so there’s no verification, that Snapchat or any of the other ones have.”

What are the main concerns with easier access to the app?

Kentucky State Police Post 3 Trooper Daniel Priddy says, “[Kids have] been taught for a long time that strangers are dangerous. But when they get to meet people online, they don’t think of them as strangers and that’s where the danger starts coming in. So, we want to make sure that they’re aware that the same rules apply on the internet has to do in real life.”

Unlike YouTube, which has the YouTube Kids version, Snapchat has no such child safety filters. Kentucky State Police, who have seen growing cybercrime numbers so for years, says the best thing to do is get involved.

Priddy said, “We want to make sure that parents are as engaged as possible and that they know what their kids are doing. [We want parents to] know the games that they’re playing on the apps they have on their phone,”

“Get on Snapchat,” advises Lemon. “Just be on it for a week and see if that’s okay with you. You want your child to be able to see everything you see on it. Same thing with TikTok, Instagram or Facebook,”