Say hello to the new instagram: Snapchat. A place where budding photographers (i.e. all of us) can upload and share pics. However, there’s one big thing that differentiates this iPhone app from others – you can chose how long your pic is displayed before it self-combusts. It uses time-sensitive technology that allows senders to choose how long they want recipients to view a photo, up to 10 seconds, before it vanishes forever. How very James Bond!
It’s this fancy feature though that has people raising their eyebrows. Think about it, what is the one main reason anyone would want their picture to destroy itself, seconds after it has been seen? Sexting of course! No one wants to be caught in a Lara Bingle-esque situation, and this new app allows those who are cheeky-text inclined to cover their saucy tracks.
Sexters will be sexters, but what has some feeling uncomfortable is that the app is strongly aimed at teens and young adults, with it being officially rated for users over 12 years of age due to “mild sexual content or nudity”. That means that people as young as 13 can use Snapchat for whatever they will.
And while the app might discourage unconsenting sharing of pics, it doesn’t completely stop it. Receivers can still screen grab photos, even though the sender will be notified if they do. And there is obviously nothing stopping them from taking a picture of the sent snap with another phone. So if they really want to share something they’ve been sent, then they will. Lara, you’re not safe yet!
So are users being lulled into a false sense of sexting-security? The apps seems to make sexting easier and “safer”, but in reality, of course it can’t guarantee one’s privacy. When questioned about said concerns, Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel had this to say: “The minute you tell someone that images on your server disappear, everyone jumps to sexting."
However, he denied that people are using it for this: “I just don’t know people who do that. It doesn’t seem that fun when you can have real sex.” Um, welcome to the real world buddy. It sounds like even the head of the company doesn’t really know what the apps is being used for, or what its real purpose is.
The lesson to be learnt here is that if you want to sext, go for it, but know that once you send something into the ether there’s no telling where it will end up and who will see it… so proceed with caution. (And keep this app out of the hands of your younger sister; no one needs to be encouraging young teens to sext!)