Note to Parents: Have a chat with your kids about Snapchat

Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 3.38.55 PMThe Message is loud and clear:

The Internet is NOT private. Anything you put out there, stays out there.

This is the message that parents are trying to get across to their kids. It’s a tough message to sell, however, because “youth” is often reckless, and the future is just a misty never-land. Few young people can imagine themselves 20 or 30 years into the future, when the vetting for a new promotion turns up some lack-of-judgement moment from years gone by.

Enter the very popular app, Snapchat. I guarantee that if you have a teen or twenty-something in your life, they are well aware of Snapchat. Just ask. You’ll see.

So what is it? It is a picture sharing app. Snap a photo and send it. The twist? The photo will self-destruct, will disappear, in just a few seconds.

Several worries, here. First of all, there is the obvious (uh-oh) sexting consideration. If the picture is going to disappear in just a few seconds, even a usually level-headed soul just might zap off a photo in a wild and crazy moment, comforted by the knowledge that it will quickly disappear.

Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 3.49.29 PMIt is this self-destruct design that is a real worry. “Disappear” is just an illusion. First of all, the receiver could take a screenshot. (The app is supposed to notify the sender if a screenshot is taken, however there are many hacks available so that function is basically useless). It is also possible for the receiver to simply take a picture of the screen with another device. Click. So much for ‘temporary’.

I came across a wonderful news story about Snapchat. If you have teens or twenty-somethings in your life, you really should watch it so that you can understand a bit of what is going on in their world. Unfortunately, I was unable to embed it into this post, so if you would like to watch the story, you’ll have to follow this link:

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