In a world full of impulsive teenagers, the internet has come blooming in the past decade as a boon and a bane. The dawn of social media has changed the way we interact with different social situations. But most importantly, it has served as a way to connect with people while not physically meeting them or even knowing them. Sure it has made communication better for us, but it doesn’t come consequence-free and practically stands harmful to us in so many aspects.
With the feature of messages/photos disappearing within 1 minute, it seems pretty safe to send private photos and nudes to someone we trust on Snapchat, but we need to ask ourselves again, is it really safe?
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Snapchat has long been known as a sexting application. The practice of sending intimate photos of ourselves isn’t anything new to humanity, we’ve been doing this since we learned cave painting back in those old days. But with the adoption of smartphones and the internet, this is the time when the sexting game started to kick the full gear.
At the time of lunch, Snapchat presented itself as a convenient way for sexters to use it to their own benefit. You could send a photo, and within the span of a few seconds, it’d be gone from the receiver’s device, poof. It seemed as a consequence-free platform where nothing could go wrong. But when it comes to technology, we must presume, it’s never a safe bet.
For consenting adults, it might be a way to be more intimate with your partner and form a healthy relationship. Getting over the judgment and social stigma related to sex. But it is the younger generation for whom this poses a huge risk.
They don’t look before they leap while making a decision. In a hindsight it might occur to them the other person can’t / won’t do anything bad with their intimate photos, but Snapchat doesn’t prevent a user from taking a screenshot. It just notifies the screenshot to the sender. But that doesn’t do much good if the harm is caused.
On top of that, there are many third-party apps that can save the screenshot stealthily without notifying the sender as well. One can even make a screen recording of their whole conversation, photos and Snapchat would do nothing to prevent that either.
“The risk is always there that the no-saving, no-sharing rules will not be respected, that a loving partner may not remain that way and that a friendly stranger may not be what they seem,” says social media expert Grimes-Viort.
In a 2015 study conducted by the University of Indiana found that one out of five Snapchat users has used Snapchat for sexting when not even actively seeking to do so.
In fact, this is the same way an evil person might start blackmailing to release the photos to friends and family if they are not paid a ransom to keep quiet about it.
Younger teens “may be particularly vulnerable to sextortion [nude images and/or videos used as a form of threat or blackmail,” researchers said, “and may be at risk for a host of risky behaviors and negative consequences.”
Sexting on Snapchat never was and never is going to be safe. Always use it at your own risk. And if in case something bad occurs, don’t hesitate to contact your parents, nearest law enforcement and inform them about the situation.