Snapchat and Teenage Sexting—What You Need to Know

girls taking a selfie and the snapchat logo behind

As parents try to keep up with the technology their children are using, several schools around Long Island have recently had issues with kids using Snapchat—as well as Instagram, texting and other sites—to send racy pictures and other inappropriate content.

What is Snapchat? Currently one of the most popular social apps among young students, Snapchat allows users to send a photo, video, image or message that vanishes just seconds after the recipient opens it. This leads many to have a false sense of security in sending nude pictures and other inappropriate messages with the feeling that they will be gone forever after opened. But of course this is not true. People have been able to save the images using a screenshot or apps like Snapchat Hack, which circumvent Snapchat’s protection. In addition, on Android phones the vanished photos are still hidden in the device and can be retrieved with the right software.

As a result, teens have had their “vanished photos” saved, shared and even published on websites like Facebook’s Snapchat Leaked (this particular page was shut down.) In a New Jersey school, photos of girls that had been sent via Snapchat were downloaded on Instagram and shared throughout the school. The students involved ended up facing possible porn charges if they did not immediately delete the pictures.

What can you do as a parent?

  • Talk to your child openly about sexting and the consequences. Don’t wait for an incident to happen. If your child has a cell phone, they are old enough to sext.
  • Know his or her accounts and passwords.
  • Talk to your child about using social media responsibly and let them know it is a privilege to have a phone, computer or other device.
  • Remind them that once an image is sent, it can be sent to anyone and everyone, and then posted and archived on the Internet forever. Make sure they understand never to post or send anything—a picture, video or message–that they would be embarrassed if everyone saw.
  • Talk about pressures to send revealing photos. Let them know that you understand how they can be pushed or dared into sending something. Tell them that no matter how big the social pressure is, the potential social humiliation can be hundreds of times worse.
  • Make sure to talk to them about what to do if they receive a sext message from someone. Let them know they should delete it immediately and talk to a parent or trusted adult. Just because your child may not be sexting, doesn’t mean they might not see something on Instagram or receive an inappropriate Snapchat or text.
  • If your child has sent any nude pictures of themselves, make sure they stop immediately. Fully discuss the dangers and make sure they understand the psychological and legal consequences.

Contact us for More Information

If you have any legal questions about an incident involving Snapchat, social media or sexting, feel free to contact us for answers to your questions. We are always here to answer questions, give advice or let you know your legal rights. Our consultations are free and there is never any obligation.

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