For those who are unfamiliar with the app’s features, Snapchat allows users to send and receive pictures or short videos with a set number of seconds to view the videos and photos. After those seconds are completed, the data is erased. Snapchat is notoriously wary of providing the exact number of users of their app, but as of October 28th, 2013 they had roughly 26 million US users. 32% of teens ages 13-17 currently use Snapchat, and 70% of Snapchat’s users are female.
The amount of female users may relate to the original intent of the app. The app was initially created for the sole purpose of helping girls sext with more discretion. These sexts were supposed to be considered “safe” sexts because they disappear after a few seconds.
A recent court document released by the Los Angeles County Superior Court documented a quote from one of the two of the founders of Snapchat regarding the creation of the app:
“Uhhhh, let’s be honest. What b*tch ever wants anyone to get a hold of her pictures? I mean with incriminating photos of lacrosse team captains, rounds of drinks, and sexy, fun photos of new outfits, a b*tch would be at the mercy of her captor if anyone ever got a hold of her phone”.
The statement is revealing about the kinds of guys who created the app and paints a pretty disgusting picture of the reasons behind them doing so. Although the marketing and use of Snapchat has ventured into being somewhat more innocent than solely being a sexting app, the original intent of the founders is startling and worth noting.
Of course, this stipulation also brings up the infamous Snapchat security breach question: are the pictures really deleted or is the data for these photos and videos saved somewhere in cyberspace?
As with all social networks and apps, the potential dangers of Snapchat are ultimately in the hands of the user. Although no kids can control the safety of the data they’re sending and receiving, the content of what your teens and tweens choose to send is up to them. Furthermore, by signing up to use this app users are literally agreeing to allow Snapchat to utilize their content. Inform your kids to only send pictures through Snapchat that they would be comfortable sharing with the world.