What It Is:
Snapchat is a social media app that allows users to send photos and videos to friends and followers. But the catch is: those messages are only viewable for a few seconds before they are deleted completely and entirely.

What is does?
Initially the two developers decided to create an app called “Picaboo” with the purpose of passing notes or pictures in class knowing that they would likely vanish before a teacher could ever intercept the device.

From there, Snapchat has evolved into an app that allows users to send whatever they want to whomever they’re friends with or whomever they follow—and all with almost zero consequence. Teens and young adults all over the world are able to send each other graphic imagery that literally just vanishes in 1-10 seconds. Whether it’s an incredibly embarrassing photo from a night out, or a friend making that ridiculous face at just the right moment, you can broadcast this out in a matter of seconds, and then it’s gone from your phone and their phone. Poof.

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Would My Child Want It?:
Your very young children would likely not be interested in Snapchat, but the app is becoming increasingly popular among teenagers and young adults.

What Should I Watch Out For?:

  • Snapchats don’t always disappear. Why? Because there are literally hundreds of apps out there that allow users to copy and download Snaps they’ve received. Some apps even allow the users to download the picture or video without ever notifying the sender.
  • So if you have two or more teens doing something they shouldn’t and documenting their reckless behavior with Snapchat, these apps can make a permanent copy of that Snap and now there is someone who has a copy of this photo. What Johnny did and thought would disappear in ten seconds, is now forever on someone else’s phone.
  • There are even websites now where people are posting their “sexiest Snapchats,” almost all without the sender’s or “Snapper’s” knowledge, for the entire internet to see.
  • Snapchat, much like others in a similar genre, it lacks real security or parental controls.
  • There is no way to protect your username from the entire internet.
  • Allows for transmission and reception of wildly inappropriate content. If it can be captured by a camera lens, it can be sent through Snapchat.
  • Can contribute to the disposable mindset among young people and reinforce the false notion that there is such a thing as impermanence on the internet.

What We Think:
There is no reason to let your kids on Snapchat. If they want to communicate with friends, there are plenty of safer, smarter ways to do it. This one is a no.

About The Author

Rachel
Contributor

Rachel has been a youth worker for 10 plus years. She is recently married and is an author of an upcoming book for girls called "See-Through" Life. She lives in Southern California and travels and speaks across the country.

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