Snapchat Does it Again
Updated: Feb 25, 2019
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Snapchat’s popularity began as innocent fun- a way to send goofy pictures without being embarrassed. That ten-second-disappearing act was brilliant. Unfortunately, it gave teens a feeling of security and invincibility since the pictures disappeared and screenshots of posts notified the sender. Sexting and cyberbullying became temptations with such a convenient tool. However, users still found a way to exploit the app. Users would take pictures of images with another phone so that there would be no notification. A sexted photo could be alive and well when the sender thought it died after 10 seconds.
Then came SnapSave, a complement app designed to allow users to save snapchat photos and videos without notifying the sender. This more sophisticated app allowed users to not just capture still photos but whole videos. And the sender had no idea whether the recipient was using the app or if the photo died after 10 seconds.
Still, that was not enough. Recently, a new app was introduced and dubbed Snapchat’s Tinder service- Yellow. Yellow is designed around the Tinder model of swiping left or right based on a stranger’s attractiveness. The entire premise of the app is to connect strangers, and there are no controls. Yellow kindly suggests that users be over the age of 13, but it has no age-verification process. A user can easily lie concerning their age to get access to the app. The app also forces location services to be on as it connects users within a certain radius of each other. This app violates the entire premise of stranger danger.
And yet, this is not even Snapchat’s worst offense! Even before its most recent development, Snapchat’s Discover Weekly was already an offender, making users scroll past inappropriate posts to get to the more appropriate posts. However, their new development, Cosmo After Dark, may top all of the previous offenses. Cosmo After Dark was launched on May 18, 2018 and describes itself as “an X-rated weekly edition that goes live every Friday at 6 p.m. and is dedicated to all things hot and h*rny.” Essentially, Snapchat is exposing its users to pornography, and there are no parental controls to avoid it. While it does hide such content from users under thirteen years old, with no age verification process, there is no way to ensure that a user has not lied about their age.
Parents, beware. Snapchat is not the innocent fun it once was. The need to make money has corrupted the app and is potentially exposing your children to some inappropriate material. And the only control you have over this exposure is to make sure your children are not on Snapchat. Remember, what has been seen cannot be unseen.