Snapchat Makes Sexting Easy

Print Friendly

A new photo-sharing application called Snapchat has just been released for the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. Snapchat is an app that allows users to take a photo and share it with someone for up to 10 seconds. When the allotted time is up, the photo is permanently deleted. If the recipient tries to take a screenshot of the photo, the sender is notified.

Toyopa Group, LLC, the makers of Snapchat, has designed the perfect sexting app. Of course, the application’s description page doesn’t specifically say that it can be used for sexting, but the screenshots they show (below) leave little to the imagination. Furthermore, and despite receiving a 12+ rating from Apple for “Infrequent/Mild Sexual Content or Nudity”, Toyopa Group has no shame in marketing their app to the younger crowd, as the screenshots and kid-friendly ghost app icon suggest.


Snapchat’s main feature may be implying a false sense of security, though. Their privacy policy states that they “cannot guarantee that the message data will be deleted in every case” and “Messages, therefore are sent at the risk of the user”. So, theoretically, if a child were to send an inappropriate photo through Snapchat, the image could be floating around on their servers even after the photo has been deleted from the recipient’s phone. How do we know that we can trust Snapchat employees to respect their users’ privacy? The answer is: We can’t.

Such invasions of privacy have happened before, most notably at Google, which we covered here. Nothing’s to say it won’t happen again at a smaller, newer company with less oversight over their employees and less stringent internal privacy standards.

Parents, as you can imagine, Snapchat would allow a child or teen to send nude photos to their friends without fear of becoming the laughing stock of the school or ending up on a porn site, but we should expect more from our children. We should expect them to make good decisions for themselves, regardless of how easy technology makes it from them to do otherwise. My hope is that you will take this knowledge and use it to leverage your vigilance at home. Keep an eye out for this app on your child’s iPhone, iPod or iPad. If you see that they’ve downloaded it, chances are it’s time to sit down and have a serious conversation about the consequences of sexting.

facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinby feather


  • Im just wondering what would happen in the case of suspected possesion of child pornography. Could the authories somehow recover the photo?

  • We just became aware of our 16 YO’s use of SnapChat on his iPhone, and we are just as concerned as all of you other parents. As you know, most teenagers think they know it all and are “bullet-proof”, and its our obligation to guide them while we still can. I’m from the Ronald Reagan school of thought – Trust but Verify!

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to block SnapChat on iPhone 5 without restricting the downloading of ALL applications?


    • Jay,

      On the iPhone 5 you cannot restrict a single app from being downloaded, unfortunately it’s all or nothing when it comes to downloading applications.

  • It’s easy for parents to become over confident that they have their teens under control. For most parents, their teenagers are WAY smarter about their technology than you are. Their Technical prowess is only exceeded by their immaturity. Never let your guard down. Tell them NEVER take a picture of ANY kind that they do not want to share with the world. there is nothing in this software that can keep someone from taking a picture of their screen, furthermore the software does not delete the picture from the device that takes the picture. if that device falls into the wrong hands…

  • Great article. Parents need to realize that if their kid is sexting it is due to lax in parenting. Teach your kids the right things and you won’t have to deal with the consequences of the wrong ones.

  • Thank you Mary Kay for this great post about sexting and your thoughts about trusting and expecting good things for our teens. I work with parents who are continually trying their best to support their teenagers during this time in their life. I’m exploring this topic more in my blog this week, would love for you to check it out.

    Thanks again for being such a great, trusted resource.


    • Thank you for your kind words of support. The team here works very hard to deliver quality articles. I will check out your site. Thank you for the invitation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *