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Snapchat Adds 2 New Features – What Parents need to know

Nothing ever stays the same in the world of social media and smartphone apps for too long.

Snapchat has been busy rolling out not one, but 2 new features for users in the latest update to the app. You may recall our earlier blog post where we covered a group chat feature within Snapchat, which allowed users to create group chats of up to 16 people – but only in a group message – if you missed that blog post check it out here.

Enter Group Video and Voice Calls

So that older feature (sooo last year) has now become more 2018-ish. In the latest update the group video chat now allows users to video chat with up to 16 of your friends at one time. According to Snapchat ‘We designed Chat to feel less like texting and more like hanging out. That’s why when a friend opens Chat, their Bitmoji pops up to say ‘I’m here!’ – and your Chat conversations aren’t saved forever, by default’.

Video calls on Snapchat are not new. In fact they’ve been around since 2016. But until now it was only a one-to-one video call, whereas now users have the option to have a group video call.

Something else worth pointing out, is that although only 16 users can participate in the ‘group video chat’ it is possible to add up to 32 users to a group voice chat.

So how does it work?

Pretty straight forward:

• Start a new group or enter an existing group chat you already have
• Tap on the video icon to start a live video group chat or tap on the phone icon for a voice call
• Members of the group will be notified. When they enter the video chat you get a notification they have joined
• If you don’t want to use your camera you can toggle it on/off or just join the call with voice.
• Users within the group will be able to use Snapchat filters and lens over their faces as it currently works within the app.

What about the other feature?

I nearly forgot (just kidding). The latest update also includes a feature which is already available on Instagram – that allows the tagging of ‘friends’ at ‘mentions’ when sending a Snap or adding of a Snap to a Snapchat Story. The person who is tagged will be notified in the chat window that they’ve been mentioned in your story.

People who see the tagged snap will be able to swipe up and add the person as a friend via Snapchat – as well as watch any public stories they’ve posted.

Points for Parents to consider:

Snapchat is very popular with children, young people, and adults. So having an understanding of how the app works is important. Discuss the risks of sharing images or videos via Snapchat or any other app.

It’s important to understand that even though the image or video may disappear on Snapchat, screenshots are possible and as many people have a second device, they can capture the image or record the video.

A common concern is that of accepting ‘friends’ requests from people you do not really know and – that some people may not be who they say they are. Ensure that your children and teenagers who are joining video chat’s with others are careful about disclosing personal information.

Take care online

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Wayne Denner shares his knowledge & expertise on leading tech industry blog.

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