Imagine someone sending a picture (or worse, video) of their genitalia to your child’s phone. Now imagine that photo self-destructing, Mission Impossible-style, in 10 seconds.
You’ve just imagined the actual capabilities of SnapChat, a photo and video messaging app that’s rapidly becoming popular with the kids. According to CNN, mentions of SnapChat on Twitter exploded from about 16,000 just before Christmas to more than 200,000 on New Year’s Day. ABC News reports that more than a billion photos have been sent via SnapChat since its debut last summer.
Does this mean that teens across America are feverishly sexting each other, believing that their photos are untraceable? Who knows? But then it turns out that their photos don’t really disappear after all. Buzzfeed reported earlier this month how to copy photos and videos sent to you via SnapChat or Facebook Poke, a similar service. Or you can take a screenshot or a photo of your phone to capture it forever and ever.
Here’s another app that proves that nothing is private anymore, especially when it comes to new technology. What’s more, everyone can see who you’re SnapChatting the most simply by typing in your user name like this: http://snapchat.com/username.
Just take a look at 21 Teenagers Whose Lives Are Being Ruined by SnapChat, at Buzzfeed. Or just pop onto Twitter and search “snapchat” for yourself. Here’s what I found in about 30 seconds:
That last one is from a high school senior who will be playing college basketball in the fall. How do I know that? I clicked to his profile, which links to his Facebook page, which is public enough to know his name and where he goes to school. Man, they make it so easy.
Hey teenagers! The grown-ups are watching! You are not going to be 17 forever, and even your SnapChat activity will follow you into your future. Now put down your phones and pull up your pants.