OK, so that’s not ALL it is, and your kids will argue till they’re blue in the face that they don’t use it for that, but that’s how the app original became popular and still a major use of it today
Taking a step back, Snapchat is a messaging app. You can send messages, photos or videos to your friends. There are lots of such apps out there. iMessage, WhatsApp, even SMS/MMS messaging offers most of the same features. Snapchat’s difference is that the messages disappear after a few seconds, and that’s there sexting comes in. Teens feel more confident sending a nude picture of themselves if they think the message will be deleted after a few seconds.
The problem is, if you really want to capture the message/photo, you can. For example, you can take a photo of your phone, or use OTHER apps, whose sole purpose is to capture Snapchat pics and this is the risk. Someone can capture that nude pic, post it on the Internet, and it’s there forever. Game over. If you need proof, type “snapchat naughties” into google image search and see what you find (warning explicit). These are pics the senders probably expected to never see the light of day.
So are there genuine uses for the app? Well, yes. I know people who’ll send a snapchat photo of themselves looking a bit silly, with messed up hair, that they’re happy for their friends to see, but don’t want them to keep it as a photo. Or, just sending silly, inane stuff that might be funny, but not worth keeping. There is no doubt lots of teens use the app for exactly this purpose, but you can also be sure they will be pressured at some point to send compromising photos.
The solution? Talk to your teen and explain that they can never, ever be sure a picture they send will be deleted and once it’s on the net, it’s there forever. Past that, you can:
- Use monitoring on your network to check if it’s being used.
- Block access to it on your network using a site blocking tool
If you want to know if your kids are using Snapchat, check out the monitoring feature of the KoalaSafe. It shows you all the domains being accessed by kids devices on the Koala network (adult devices are ignored).