DEEP DIVE

A Parent’s Guide to Snapchat

Confused by Snapchat? We can help.

If you’re a parent, you might know Snapchat as the disappearing-messages app that’s pretty much the only way your teen communicates with friends these days.

And if you didn’t grow up sending Snaps, the app can be a mysterious thing. Whatever your parenting style, there are Snapchat fundamentals every parent should be familiar with. Here are a few.

The lay of the land

First thing to understand: There’s more to Snapchat than photo and video messages that auto-delete. The app has three sections (not counting the camera home screen that appears when you launch the app). Refer to this cheat sheet if you’re lost:

• Swipe right for the Friends screen, the messaging side of the app. It’s where teens are chatting with friends.

• Swipe left for the Discover screen—or what is probably your teen’s primary news source. It’s loaded with video stories. (More on that below.)

• Swipe up for Memories, where you can save your Snaps and stories.

Snapchat’s Lenses—which are sort of like digital masks—make for good clean fun.

All the news that’s fit to Snap

The Discover section showcases stories from sources ranging from mainstream media (The Wall Street Journal, Wired, National Geographic) to entertainment websites to Snapchat itself, which publishes collections of user-submitted Snaps about certain topics.

It’s all here: Coverage of breaking global crises. Edgy fashion advice. Salacious celeb gossip. It’s worth asking to peek at what your teen is reading and viewing.

You do have some control over the types of stories that surface. To see less of a certain kind, tap and hold a story, then select “See less like this.”

Video stories on the Discover screen cover a range of topics.

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