SnapChat is a fast growing trend, particularly among teenagers who are looking for new ways to communicate with each other. SnapChat is a cell phone app that allows individuals to send pictures to each other. However, these pictures are set to automatically delete after a maximum of 10 seconds. Because this app is so popular with teenagers and seems to provide the assurance of deleting pictures after a short period of time, it is often used for cyber bullying and sexting, which can lead to problems. This leads many parents to wonder if this app can be used safely. Learn about The Deal with Snapchat Safety!
Snapchat Safety: A False Sense of Security
The biggest problem with SnapChat is it gives teens a false sense of security when they send out pictures. This is why one of its most common uses is sexting and cyber bullying. Teens think they can send a naked picture of themselves to a boyfriend or girlfriend and it will be gone after the recipient views the picture. Likewise, those who seek to bully others can send bullying pictures to their victims with the assumption that the picture will disappear before their victim can show it to an adult. However, this is not a valid assumption.
Snapchat Safety: Are Pictures Really Deleted?
The false sense of security comes when teens think their pictures are automatically deleted. Unfortunately, individuals have learned how to save screenshots through the cell phone itself or by taking a picture with another phone, in addition to saving screenshots of the pictures, thus saving the picture from deletion. It is also common for individuals to take screenshots and post them on social media sites. There are also utilities that allow individuals to recover deleted files from their cell phones, much like the tools computer technicians use to recover data that is seemingly deleted from a computer.
Snapchat Safety: Keep It To Friends Only
One of the most important aspects of using this app is to make sure you limit pictures to your friends and people you can trust. However, it is important to understand that teen friendships are not always what they seem. When you allow people who aren’t your friends to send you pictures or receive the ones you send, though, you are putting yourself at risk for receiving pictures that can get you in trouble. The safest thing to do is limit the use of this app to your closest friends.
Snapchat Safety: Watch What You Send
Perhaps one of the most important things you should remember about this app is you need to be careful what you send. Always keep in mind that whatever is posted on the Internet, even if you choose to delete it through automatic deletion or manually later, there is still a chance it is out there. While it can be tempting to take a seductive picture or use the app to bully someone you don’t like, always remember that this picture can come back to haunt you in the future.
Snapchat Safety: Consider Your Future
In the future, colleges and employers may look at more information online when choosing which candidates to accept. If the pictures you wish to send via SnapChat are those that would be embarrassing for future employers or educators to see or you feel they would affect their decisions about you, don’t send them. Keeping your pictures clean will protect your future.
Snapchat Safety: Report Illegal Content
Even though SnapChat deletes the pictures from their servers, they may be able to work with law enforcement in situations where illegal content, particularly sexually explicit pictures of minors, has been distributed. It is important for teens and parents to report this behavior to the administrators, along with information on the nature of the message, when it was send, the username of the sender, your teen’s user name and the age of the teen who received the message.
Snapchat Safety: Block Unwanted Users
SnapChat offers the capability of blocking unwanted users from sending you messages. If you become the victim of cyber bullying over this app, it is best to use your privacy settings to block individuals from receiving messages from these users. Ignoring bullies is one of the best ways to stop their behavior. Because SnapChat shows senders if the content has been viewed and when, blocking the user will get the message across that the content is not being received.
SnapChat is quickly becoming a popular app for teens to use to send each other fun pictures and messages. However, like all other types of online tools that are appealing to teens, there is the opportunity for misuse, particularly in terms of sexting and cyber bullying. Learning how to use this app safely will keep your teens out of trouble and help them use this app correctly. Talking to your child about the possibilities will help your teen understand the urgency of using it safely.