STOPit's Super Quick Safety Tips

Part Two: Snapchat

According to an April 2015 Pew Research Center survey, a whopping 41% of teens use Snapchat. Snapchat is a messaging app with which users can share photos, text, and drawings (called a "snap") with friends. The user who sends the snap can select how long they would like the recipient(s) to be able to view the snap, up to 10 seconds. After that time, the snap will "disappear" — but not really. Snapchat is available to ages 13 and up.

1. The most important thing for kids to understand is that material sent on Snapchat "snaps" do not actually disappear. The pictures continue to exist and are at risk of being hacked.

2. Snapchat alerts the user when a friend takes a screenshot of their snap. However, there now exist a panoply of apps which will automatically capture and save every snap sent to a Snapchat user, without ever notifying the sender. So, your child should consider every snap that they send as the equivalent of texting a picture — the recipient now has full and permanent access to the image. It's not going anywhere.

3. The lesson here is the same lesson for everything that happens on the internet: think before you click send! Make sure your child understands that everything online is permanent. Before they send a snap, your child should pass this test: say to his- or herself, "Am I okay with this existing and being tied to me forever?"

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