Is Snapchat ruining people's lives?


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Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass , Social media obsessed, answered

I'd say so. There are three main issues I have with Snapchat:

1) It's not as secure as you might think.

2) It encourages people to share things they'll probably regret.

3) It makes it difficult to prosecute people who distribute illegal images or abuse people online.

How Snapchat might ruin your life

For those of you who don't know what Snapchat is - it's an app that allows users to share pictures and short videos with friends, and then deletes that content from both the sender's and the recipient's phone 10 seconds after the file has been opened.

What this has resulted in is people all over the world messaging each other provocative iPhone pictures of themselves in their underwear, or sharing that spur-of-the-moment picture - without the fear that the image will be distributed all over the internet.

Now I love social media. And when I first heard about Snapchat, it seemed like a really good idea.

However, the more I read about the app, the more concerned I'm becoming that it has the potential to have some very serious consequences.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing against people sharing saucy changing room photos or flirty images - quite the contrary.

However, my biggest problem with Snapchat is that it's not as secure as most people might initially think.

Snapchat is not that private

Users can still see who you're messaging, and how often you message them - which could be awkward if you're in a relationship...

There are also plenty of YouTube tutorials out there if you're looking for instructions on how to save Snapchat videos.

Did you really want to share that?

Considering the recent spate of teen suicides caused by private and sexually-explicit photos being shared openly on social media, lulling vulnerable teens into believing the photos and videos they share will disappear once they've been viewed, and then not backing that promise up with the airtight technology is terrible.

There are also the legal issues that an app like this throws up. What happens when people start sharing illegal images? How will criminals be prosecuted when all the evidence automatically disappears?

Finally, people using Snapchat seem to forget that, although machine memory can be deleted, human memory can't.

Although the content you send on Snapchat will auto-destroy, that drunk video of you crying your eyes out that you sent to an ex will remain in his or her memory banks forever.

I can totally see the positive sides to Snapchat, it encompasses everything people love about social media: Communication, engagement, nudity... But I think the app has a potential to do some serious damage too.     

3 People thanked the writer.
Sam Wilson
Sam Wilson commented
Couldn't agree more Kass, as with all these recent developments in Social Media there are undoubted benefits and uses but also plenty of concerns surrounding the long-term effects on the human condition.

I guess we're all in it together and have got to accept responsibility for any consequences that come from our use of these services; I do however agree that we do have a duty to protect the young and impressionable from potentially damaging situations, whilst also allowing them to make and learn from their own mistakes.
Melinda Moore
Melinda Moore commented
Great answer, thanks! I saw an article earlier today (written by a recruitment consultant) that said that young people have a massive advantage over those who are older, in terms of their familiarity with social media.

While this is probably true, in terms of their confidence when using new technology, I do think that young people are also potentially at a disadvantage, for the reasons Kass has mentioned above.

Some young people can all too easily overlook the long-term consequences of actions they carry out on the spur of the moment, and can be far less aware of how impossible it is to remove something from the Internet, once it's been put there.

In the UK, we've had a couple of cases of young people losing their jobs recently, due to unwise postings they made on Twitter. The images some people are posting using Snapchat have the potential to be even more embarrassing than those tweets were (both to the people themselves and their families and employers).

I agree with Sam that we really need to ensure that young people are made much more aware of what they need to think about when using social media, as well as taking responsibility for how we use these services ourselves.

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