What is a Snap Score? (This is Keeping Your Kid Online)

Words by
Jackie Baucom

MAY 21, 2024

What is a Snap Score? (This is Keeping Your Kid Online)

Kids say the darndest things. And teens are no different. Just as you start to feel confident in understanding their slang, a fresh term emerges, prompting you to search online once again for clarification.

One term that has likely popped up in conversations about your child’s online activity is “Snap Score.” 

But what exactly is a Snap Score? Should you be worried about it? Let’s explore everything you need to know about this term, and how understanding it can aid in your child’s online safety. 

What is a Snap Score?

A Snap Score is a numerical representation of a Snapchat user’s activity and engagement on the platform. Essentially, the more active on Snapchat a user is, the higher their Snapchat Score will be. The score is visible on a user’s profile icon and can be found on the top left corner of the screen. 

How are Snap Scores Calculated?

Snapchat has not made this entirely clear to the public, but Snap Scores are calculated using various factors — including the number of Snaps (e.g. messages or posts) sent and received, Stories you’ve posted, and other interactions in the app.

Understanding Snapchat Streaks

A Snap Streak represents the number of consecutive days that two users have been sending snaps to each other. Maintaining a streak involves sending at least one snap back and forth within a 24-hour period. 

The streak is indicated by a flame emoji (🔥) and a number (representing the number of days the streak has been going) next to the names of the users involved.

One study found that girls are more likely to engage in Snap Streaks than boys, and to keep them going for a longer period of time.

The Dangers of Keeping Score

In focus group interviews, teenagers mentioned that keeping a Snapchat streak helps them redefine their friendships and feel part of a shared activity. Losing a streak is seen as a personal rejection. 

For many, streaks serve as a gauge of relationship strength, with some going as far as reminding friends outside of Snapchat to send a snap, or giving their login information to someone else to keep the streak going if they won’t be able to get online.

In our own research study involving a Midwestern high school, Snap Scores and Streaks were often mentioned by teens as something they worried about missing out on during a 30-day phone fast. In post-study interviews, one of the common realizations expressed by participants was that these scores didn’t equate to real friendship they way they had previously believed.

I don’t really care about [Snapstreaks] anymore. I used to care about that…[but] why should I believe that whoever’s number one on my best friend’s list is actually my best friend? That’s stupid.

—High School Senior

Snap Streaks create a gamified function to Snapchat. It’s not hard to see how, as a child, you might send snaps to your friends, or send snaps to multiple people, purely to increase your score.

It can encourage excessive use of the app, and foster a sense of obligation to keep the streak going. And once a streak is broken, many are left devastated and friendships are often hurt as a result.

Protecting Your Child from Snap Score Obsession

As a parent, it’s important to strike a balance between allowing your child to use technology while also ensuring they maintain healthy habits and boundaries. Many experts are now suggesting social media should wait until the late teens so kids should begin their tech journey with simple, safe devices

Even if a teen has proven they are mature enough to handle social media, coaching and regular conversation is likely needed to help so they don’t become consumed by something like a Snap Score or Snap Streak.

Foster open dialogue with your child about their online activities, including their use of Snapchat. Encourage them to share their experiences and concerns with you.

Establish clear guidelines regarding screen time and Snapchat usage. Encourage breaks from the app to promote face-to-face interactions and other activities.

illustration of teen on snapchat with a snap streak

Familiarize yourself with Snapchat’s features and settings. Regularly check your child’s friends list and the content they are sharing to ensure their safety online.

Remind your child to be cautious about the information they share on Snapchat and to only interact with people they know in real life. Emphasize the importance of privacy settings and avoiding sharing personal information publicly.

It’s also important to be a positive role model by demonstrating healthy digital habits yourself. Show your child the importance of disconnecting from screens and engaging in offline activities.

Understanding what a Snap Score is and how it can impact your child’s online experience is essential for parents. By staying informed, fostering open communication, and implementing strategies to promote responsible usage, you can help your child navigate the online world safely and responsibly.

Does your child use Snapchat? Are they focused on keeping score and streaks? Leave us a comment below.

Like the post? Leave a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Your comment has been submitted for review! We will notify you when it has been approved and posted!

Thank you!

Share this article with...