Welcome to what I like to call (at times) the digital “wild wild west”, when it comes to the use of technology, and how quickly our youth will sometimes assimilate it into their lives without thinking critically about consequences to actions. The mobile world is exploding in usage, especially with our youth, as are the App’s that are being downloaded on their mobile devices. Recently an app called “Snapchat” has been released and is now available for “FREE” in the iTunes store for the iTouch, iPad and iPhone.
According to the developers of Snapchat:
“Real-time picture chatting is finally available on iPhone! Snapchat is the fastest way to share a moment with friends. With Snapchat you control how long your friends can view your message, simply set the timer up to ten seconds and send. They’ll have that long to view your message and then it disappears forever. We’ll let you know if they take a screenshot! Build relationships, collect points, and view your best friends. Snapchat is instantly fun and insanely playful. Show your friends how clever you can be and enjoy the lightness of being.”
A couple of very interesting things that I read in their policy:
- Under the App Rating, the vendor has advised, “Rated 12+ for the following, infrequent/mild sexual content or nudity, infrequent/mild alcohol, tobacco or drug use or references to infrequent/mild mature/suggestive themes infrequent/mild profanity or crude humor”
Point #3, above, is where the digital “wild wild west” analogy I mentioned earlier in this posting is directed, and what concerns me the most. I see this app being utilized by our youth (and yes adults too) to send questionable pictures (like sexts) believing that by using this App, those pictures will be deleted within 10 seconds.
Some will say, “Darren you are over-reacting to the potential of this app being abused.” Am I?! I just read a review posted in the iTunes Store by a user named Sadowynk dated March 5th 2012, where he stated:
“Great game for wheelin broads and taking cute selfies to share with the world”
For those who may not understand chat vernacular, check out www.netlingo.com plug in “wheeling” and “selfies” and you will understand why I am concerned about this app being abused.
There is no better way to educate our kids about the positive and negative challenges that the Internet and Social Networking brings to our youth, than by sitting down with them and having an open and honest conversation with them about such challenges. As parents however, we too need to be educated about new technology and apps as they come to market, so that we can have these open and honest conversations. Knowledge and the understanding and application of that knowledge is power, thus the reason for this posting specific to this app.
As a parent, we need to take a more active role in parenting and the supervision of Internet and Social Networking use by our kids, especially our younger ones whose critical thinking skills are still developing. In my opinion, this app should be on every parent’s radar.
The Digital Sheepdog
PS: This is another reason why monitoring software on both computers and mobile devices are so very important. Products such as “Spector Pro” for home computers and laptops, and “Phonesheriff” for mobile phones, will capture these pictures and bring them to the attention of the parent.
Image Source: Gizmodo