When I posted my article about how Instagram is used for bullying, I was directed to look at a new app that kids are using and was asked for an opinion if it was safe.
The app is called Snapchat.
Snapchat – its the cool-kid-on-the-block which allows anyone to snap photos and share them with their friends. However, unlike other Instant Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Snapschat has a timer built into each image. So when you send your image, you can select how long the image can be displayed on the recipient’s screen before it is automatically deleted. You can draw on the image too.
|Take a pic||set the time limit||personalise the image|
As a safety mechanism, Snapchat also has the ability to let you know if someone has taken a “screenshot” of your image on their phone so you know that your image is not deleted.
kids love this app as they keep their images off the radar of Social Networking like Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram. The images are instant and get deleted after the time expires so images are safe. It is also popular as it is available on Android devices and various iOS devices such as iPhone, iPod, iPod Touches so it works on WiFi Only devices.
I had to try this for myself and test just how safe these images are and if indeed the feature that notifies you of the screenshot works.
I set up my account and sent a pic and sure enough as soon as the picture arrived, I was able to take screenshot of it which it immediately it notified the sender that I did that.
HOWEVER, a quick research online I found a workaround with the iPhone. When you receive a Snapchat pic you can hold the image open, press the home and power button while keeping a finger on the screen. Then double tap the home button to bring up the application bar. The sender receives no notification.
Of course take another phone and just use that phone’s camera to take a photo of the screen and the sender is none the wiser.
Android people can jut buy an app that lets you take the screenshot and bypass the notifications.
So in summary:
Its a great app. You can take a pic, draw on it with your finger and send it to your friends. It is quick and fun to use and I can definitely see the appeal of it.
Just be aware that “deleted” photos are not necessarily deleted.
My big concern is that kids will rely on these methods as a safe way to Sexting thinking that it is harmless fun and their images can’t be posted online. This is where they are wrong. I just read of a case where this exact thing has happened in the USA. 2 girls sent naked photos of themselves to their boyfriends who took screenshots of the images and uploaded them to Instagram. Police are investigating the matter now.
Parents: Be aware that unlike MMS, any images sent will not appear on your bill. The app is meant to be used by kids aged 13 and older. Please go to this link and read the Snapchat guides for parents if you are going to let your kids use it.