In early December I first heard of a new smartphone application that was popular with Teens called Snapchat. One goal I have with my blog is to inform youthworkers and parents of what is popular and trending with teens especially when it could be harmful, inappropriate or misused by their teens. With the hustle and Bustle of the Holiday season I did not get a post up about it sooner and I apologize for that.
Snapchat is getting more attention every day being highlighted in numerous articles and blogs and even mentioned on the latest episode of Parenthood. This app is basically a picture sharing application but what makes it unique is you can set your pictures to self destruct. Meaning, if I send someone a picture I can set a timer so that once the person who I am sending the picture to opens it, they only have 10 seconds to view it before it is erased from their phone. Sounds fun right? One of the concerns that many people have with this application is that it is directly geared towards sexting.
Even if it is not intended to be used for sexting that is one reputation it has received. Just skim through the reviews in the iTunes App store and you will see comments like, “15 year old male username: ********** looking for 13-18 F dirty or clean.” In fact there are numerous posts in the reviews section like this. People telling their age, sex, basics of what they look like and then asking for other random people to follow them and Snapchat with them. Some say specifically “no nudes” meaning no nude pictures.
Now I am not saying every teen or person using Snapchat is engaging in sexting. Over Christmas I was speaking with a relative and they mentioned how their daughter uses it as a fun way to communicate with their cousins. I also spoke to a group of teens about Snapchat and one teen said “personally, it’s another form of texting. The kind of pics I send is of food, or what I’m doing, what I’m watching, and a bunch of funny faces.” I actually think this is how most teens are using the app, as another fun alternative to texting.
What I am saying is be aware of what apps are on your teens phones and what apps are popular with teens. Be in the Know. Have conversations with them about appropriate behavior and use of the smartphone.
Here are links to several other articles and post related to Snapchat if you would like more information or some tips for discussing this app with your teenager:
A Parents Take on Snapchat via Mashable
Snapchat- Kids Can Send Explicit Pictures that Self Destruct via Parenting Today’s Kids (Good parenting tips in this article)