Teenagers and SnapChat

One of the most popular apps teenagers are using today is an app that snaps a picture, sends to a friend… and then the picture disappears after just a few seconds.

… or does it?

I’m talking about Snapchat. I blogged about this app last May when it first began growing popular (I encourage you to read that post, because I provide some of the real numbers about “sexting” and how much of a concern this issue really is… or isn’t).

Well, now the app is more mainstream, and most kids know about it and use it. It’s the 16th most popular download in the free iTunes store as I type this. More than 20 millions photos are shared each day. If you hang out with teenagers, you’ve probably heard about it.

Here’s what The Today Show had to say about it:

So, should parents be worried?

The video above nailed it with two facts:

1. The pictures are NOT just temporary, because EVERY kids knows how to do a screenshot of incoming pictures. Now the picture that someone intended to be temporary… is saved on someone’s phone. You’ll find a host of articles about this all over the web.

2. Parents need to have conversations about this with their kids. Kids need to be reminded of accountability. In short, Snapchat should be treated like any other picture they take.

My good friend Adam McLane, author of A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media, just happened to blog about this yesterday as well and offers 5 insightful principles for parents, teenagers and youth workers to consider.

Some parents are banning their kids from downloading this app. Will that solve the problem? Or do parents just need to start having more conversations about responsibility and accountability?

Have you noticed your kids using Snapchat? Is banning the app from your kids the solution? Why or why not?

What conversations have you had with your kids about this popular app?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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5 Responses to Teenagers and SnapChat

  1. Andrea says:

    I use this with my 15 yr old niece and I’ll let my oldest daughter age 10 use it on my phone in my presence to chat with her. I think its fun, but this definitely beings up some concerns i know i can discuss with both of them. Thank you.

  2. sally says:

    As a senior in high school, I completely understand your concern. When I first explained this to my parents (because they do closely monitor what apps I use), they were initially horrified at the thought of me having an app that would legitamately allow me to sext without them knowing about it.
    Honestly, my friends and I use it to send goofy pictures. Fully clothed. Sometimes, it’s just so much funnier to add a weird facial expressions when I’m telling someone a story over text (in this case, the picture captions). Or just for fun, send someone a snapchat when I’m bored doing homework. True, I wouldn’t exactly want these pictures to end up on Facebook (I have a tendency to completely distort my face in most snapchats I send), but they are absolutely no where close to being considered child pornography.
    Of course, I am not like every single teenager, but it might offer some parents peace of mind knowing that not every teenager is going to send naked pictures to each other with the app. My main concern instead would be from sending snapchats during class.

    • Thanks for your comment Sally. That’s what my daughter’s friends all do too- mostly innocent stuff. But I hope that parents would spend the time to talk about some of the points I brought up in this blog, realizing the importance of responsibility and discernment with ALL pictures… even the ones we think are temporary.

  3. Pingback: Snapchat Info for Parents of Teens « Austin McCann

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