I came across the increasing popular app, SnapChat a few weeks ago. I know of a few teenagers who have the app on their phone and use it often. I decided to check it out myself and quickly came to the conclusion that this could be dangerous if abused.
The app is essentially a photo sharing tool. You snap an image, then you set a timer, and send it. The person on the other end has a few seconds to view your photo and then it disappears, forever (unless you have an iPhone and have a quick draw to screen shot)
When I’ve seen it used it has been entirely all for fun. Like sending goofy pictures back in forth of contorted faces or seeing who can make the ugliest face knowing it will soon disappear from your friend’s phone. Sounds fun, huh? It is, but it can easily be misused.
Parents should be informed about the misuses of this ever popular app. The issue of “sexting” (where people send inappropriate images of themselves) is real and many teenagers have participated. This raises the question of how parents deal with, not only cell phones, but technology in general. Later this spring I plan on doing a student teaching series that deals directly with our relationship with technology. We live in a new digital world and our children need help navigating through it. I think it’s great that teenagers can share photos and there are plenty of photo sharing tools out there. I’d recommend Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. All of these allow users to share images to their friends. That being said, I believe a parent should have access to these social media sites too. You may not need their password but you at least need to see what your child is posting. Maybe it’s time for you to join the world of social media if you haven’t already!
The Today Show story on SnapChat:
Want to read more?
Here a few other youth workers who have written about this topic: