To many of us digital dinosaurs, there seems to be a new social media innovation every month…every week!
Most recently, Snapchat is the latest app to hit the social media scene of seventh grade.
Snapchat is a fun photo-sharing app which allows users to send a photo to one individual or to a group of friends. What makes Snapchat unique compared to other photo-sharing platforms is the fact that the photo will only be visible to the recipient for 10 seconds before it disappears from the recipient’s device. Or does it?
In our continual discussion regarding digital citizenship with our students, we remind them of the importance of their digital footprint and how it is essential to be vigilant of what they share online. While Snapchat seems to offer a safe option for photo sharing as the photos “disappear”, we need to remind kids that once something is out there – it’s out there and can be saved by a simple screen shot.
Just last week, on November 14, 2013, in Quebec, Canada, ten boys aged 13 – 15 were arrested on child pornography charges. They are accused of allegedly capturing and sharing explicit photos of teenage girls sent through Snapchat as screenshots.
While my intention is not to fear-monger, it is worth sharing this information with our teens as an example of how poor choices lead to difficult and dire consequences.
What can we do? Talk to kids. Ask them if they are using Snapchat, to what purpose and to whom? Remind them of the importance of “thinking before you send”. Do they really want a picture of them doing something silly, risky…or illegal to haunt them one day?
Again it’s a matter of a conversation. To only connect!
Nancy A. Remondi