Snapchat Can Be More Permanent Than It Seems

Jan 15, 2013

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Snapchat, the new app that allows users to send photos that are only viewable for up to ten seconds, has quickly gained a reputation as a potential sexting app. The appeal is that the photos self-destruct after they’ve been viewed, and no record of the photos is left behind.

There are a couple workarounds, though, for savvy users who do want to save a photo. They can simply take a screenshot of the photo before it disappears or they can take a picture of the photo with a separate camera. The app does alert the sender when the receiver takes a screenshot, but the damage is done by that point. Why would users want to save these pictures? The reason could be as innocent as someone wanting to save a particularly funny photo or it could be as dangerous as capturing sext messages.

Once a picture is permanently stored somewhere, there’s no stopping someone from distributing it to anyone and everyone. There’s no getting it back either.

There is no such thing as a completely private conversation. As long as a conversation is recorded, whether on paper or on camera, copies can be made. Once a photo has been sent, it’s out of your hands. Those private photos can go public, whether you like it or not.

Parents, if your teens have SnapChat, or another app like it, ask them what they use it for.  Make sure they realize that just because their pictures disappear, it doesn’t mean they’re gone forever because someone could have made copies. Remind them that if they’re underage and using the app to sext, they’re creating child pornography. Furthermore, if that pornography is saved, they could be in big legal trouble.

We must remember that a picture is worth a thousand words and we should be careful to only say nice things with the ones we take.

I work for Net Nanny. The opinions expressed here are my own.