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.
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.