Are your kids Snapchatting?

Have you heard about the fun new app Snapchat? Your kids have and chances are they are using it. I must say there is great appeal in the silliness of it. Though most of my adult friends aren’t using it (perhaps they are more mature than I). If you are an adult and want to join me on Snapchat my handle is Oophology. But alas, this isn’t about me. It’s about the ones who are eating us out of house and home and making fun of us in private chats on Facebook.

There are also, of course, ways your teens and tweens can get into big trouble using Snapchat.

What you should know. Snapchat is a photo app similar to Instagram. They key difference? The photos are timed. Let me explain. I take a photo of me sipping wine and I send it to you. BUT, before I send the photo I choose the amount of time the recipient has to view it. The longest amount of time allowed being ten seconds. Very interesting. And potentially dangerous. But that is where we parents come in. Below is a quick video showing how you receive a photo, click on it and then view it while you can. Because POOF it will be gone in seconds.

(Only those you select and send the image to can see the photo.)

I fear Snapchat gives kids a false sense of security about the privacy of what they are sending.

My Key Thoughts:

Parents can’t monitor their kids photos. This is the part that most alarms me. I like to be able to scan my son’s Instagram and Facebook photos every so often to ensure what they are posting doesn’t prohibit them from getting into a college thus moving out so I can turn their room into my office.

You can take a screenshot of your iphone screen and thus have the photo permanently. When I asked my otherwise intelligent teen son if you could do this, he responded, “Probably, but it won’t be easy.” I did it easily on the first attempt. Proving that no matter how smart our teens are, they need our help navigating this giant world of social media. Often.

Snapchat leads to the obvious: Talk again about sexting. Talk. Talk. Talk.

There is a perception that these photos go away but somewhere somehow I suspect they are sitting on a server because unlike Vegas the internet doesn’t tend to stay in the internet.

There are alarmists that will tell you this is a horrible product and kids are using it for all the wrong reasons. I am certain some kids are. But as is true with most things in life, the majority aren’t. It is our job as parents to discuss the pitfalls of these things and guide them in the right direction so they end up in the majority, not in a CNN article.

As always on Ooph, I encourage you to use this as a reason to talk with your kids. Remind them to be responsible, that you trust them to do the right thing and to have a good time! (Within reason.)