Most parents of teens have heard of Snapchat – the photo and video messaging app, where the messages disappear after being viewed. But what are SnapStreaks and should you be concerned about them? Yes you should.
My parents both smoked cigarettes. And so did I. One morning 20 years ago, I asked myself why I was choosing to be a slave to something which was so bad for my health. And just like that, I quit.
When two friends send a Snap to each other on three consecutive days, they start a streak. A flame icon and a number will appear next to their names indicating how many days their streak has lasted. To keep the streak going, each friend must continue to send a snap back and forth every day.
This becomes addictive and time consuming. They become slaves to the app. Those little numbers next to their list of friends can lead to self-esteem issues, anxiety and depression. Several studies have suggested that Snapchat is one of the worst social media apps for teen emotional and mental well-being.
At almost every school I visit, I hear the same stories from students and their parents – kids who have lost access to their phones will give their login details to other friends to keep their streaks going. This is very risky behavior since offensive or inappropriate messages sent will be blamed on the child who owns the account. Your child.
And all this potential misery is for what? To keep a little number ticking up on a social media app?
Many kids come to the realization of how absurd this is all by themselves and let their streaks die. They discover that they are much happier when they do.
But other kids do get hooked. My advice? Prevent your child from becoming addicted to drugs, tobacco or SnapStreaks and Just Say No.