The SnapChat smart phone app is one of the newest crazes for teens because it allows a user to send what they believe to be a very private and very temporary photo to another user (and if you use it just for fun with friends, it can be a blast). Because SnapChat (seen below, yellow icon) makes the “snap” or photo vanish after 10 seconds, SnapChat has become a flirtatious/sexting channel for teens. Well, until now.
Now, there’s an app to intercept and save those cute little “snaps.”
It’s called Snap Save (iPhone, iPad) or SnapCapture (for android). Designers created the app specifically to allow a SnapChat user to save any content that comes to their phone. While kids could do this on many smart phones prior to Snap Save, by simply taking a screen shot of the text, SnapChat would send the user an alert saying their SnapChat had been saved.
Both Snap Save (seen below, pink icon) or SnapCapture (blue icon) do not notify the sender that the photo has been saved and allows anyone to capture and circulate any SnapChat they wish.
As a parent, I’m thrilled about this app and see it as a cyber security tool. (If your child has the Safe Eyes app for iOS, then that’s our first recommendation for mobile filtering). Hopefully, the added risk of someone saving a racy photo or a SnapChat designed to bully or spread rumors, will be a big deterrent for some kids. On the other hand, Snap Save in the hands of a bully . . . well, you know how that story goes as well (as you know, anything can be exploited online).
So let your child know (or remind them) that this new app is out there in case she has or is thinking of sending any not-so-smart snap chats. And, let her know it’s out there in case she wants to document a bullying or reckless snap chat someone else may send.
3 Family Talking Points on Privacy:
- Nothing is private online. No matter how cool an app seems, everything shared lives somewhere in cyberspace and any app can be hacked. Don’t be fooled.
- Face to face still rules. While SnapChat gives some kids a sense of courage to share feelings or private thoughts with another person, those are always best shared in person. Remind your child that feelings and relationships are very real and should not be “snapped” across cyberspace or treated casually (that precedent is tough to reshape).
- Practice integrity. It’s been said often that integrity is how you conduct yourself when no one is looking—in the Internet Safety world we call that cyber ethics. So, just because an image or message will vanish in 10 seconds is no reason to compromise one’s integrity or anyone else’s. Remember: Thirty seconds in cyberspace can wreck a relationship, a reputation, or both.
Toni Birdsong is a Family Safety Evangelist to McAfee. You can find her on Twitter @McAfee_Family.
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