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Snapchat and other smartphone apps pose risks for teen drivers

Your teen is about to be behind the wheel. As a busy parent you are conflicted about this milestone. It will be nice that your child can finally drive to and from practice. You’ve shuffled them around for years and you definitely deserve a break. You are also terrified that your child will be behind the wheel. You’ve taught them how to be safe. You had your teen study driving manuals and gone over precautions. Yet, you worry.

Teens are often glued to their phones. We live in a world where technology is literally at our fingertips at all times. You’ve told your teen they aren’t allowed to use their phone while they drive, but you still worry that they might. Phone applications may make it tempting for your teen to use their phone while they drive.

Apps like Snapchat can pose dangerous risks.

The popular app, Snapchat, was in the news last year after several teens wrecked while using the app. Snapchat is an app that allows users to take pictures and videos, and then share them. One of the features that makes snapchat so appealing is that it has different ‘filters’. These filters can change the users appearance or voice. It also has clocks, animations and other features that make the app enjoyable.

One filter clocks speed. This filter was used by teens while driving. Several scenarios popped up in the news in which teens crashed at high speeds while using the popular application to record how fast they were going.

Since the car accidents, several online petitions have cropped up to have the filter removed. The petitions have not yet worked, as the speed filter is still available on the app.

Teens must take precautions while driving.

Talk to your teen about the dangers of using apps while driving. You can set specific rules for your teen and their phone. Talk to them about pulling over to make phone calls. Have them find a specific place to put their phone when they enter the vehicle so that the temptation to use it is minimized.

Apple is trying to make a difference.

Apple announced in June of this year that they will start to take precautions to help keep drivers safe. As a part of a software update, a “do not disturb while driving” feature will be added. This feature will stall notifications while phone owners drive.

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