Snapchat has just announced the release of it’s newest product, later in the Autumn- a pair of glasses that enables users to film videos and then upload them to the Snapchat app. Between 2009 and 2013 the amount of people who had uploaded a video to the internet had more than doubled, according to a PEW, a US based non-profit research organisation specialising in science, technology and internet research. Video is now everywhere, in particular since 2012 there has been a huge acceleration in the number of video sharing apps. This of course can be a concern for parents as they worry about how best to ensure that their children stay safe in a digital environment that is constantly changing.

What we know about Snapchat Spectacles:

They essentially look like a pair of sunglasses and will be available in 3 different colours. There is a small camera built into the upper right and left hand corners of the frames. To record a video a user/wearer of the glasses just taps a button near the left camera, this will record for 10 seconds, if you want to record for longer just tap the button again giving you an extra 10 seconds each time. The maximum recording time is 30 seconds. An inward facing light will let you know that your glasses are activated and an outward facing light will let others know that they are being recorded.

Videos taken with the Snapchat spectacles will be saved on the glasses until they are transferred to another device, for example a smartphone. This can be easily done using wifi and/or Bluetooth. Videos taken with the Snap Specs, as they will be known, will also be saved to the memories section of a Snapchat account.

So what safety concerns do you need to be aware of where Snap Spectacles are concerned or indeed any video recording and sharing product? Reminding your child of the importance of behaving the same way they do offline as they do when they are online, is particularly important here. Children can often, understandably get caught up in the excitement of being able to for example, record and upload a video. They may not think of the longer term consequences, i.e. who is viewing the content and that content can in many cases be easily screenshot and shared more widely. Ensuring that any safety settings that can be activated on an app, are in place is also important. Talking to your child regularly about everything that they are experiencing when they are online is also helpful; it can help to reassure your child that they can confide in you about what they and indeed their friends are experiencing when they are online. Also, having a conversation with your child about their digital footprint, in other words the longer term consequences of what they post online including videos, will undoubtedly be helpful.

There is currently a huge amount of competition between social media providers trying to produce new products to out manoeuvre each other. If you have a solid base of open communication about internet safety with your child this will certainly be a positive step in helping your child to stay safe, regardless of what new apps become available.

The Zeeko Internet Safety Guide offers more comprehensive advice on how to help keep your child safe online. You can buy a copy of the book here.

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