You may recently have heard the word “Snapchat” dropped into your children’s vernacular, or in the latest news report. Snapchat is elusive that way. It pops into your field of vision only briefly, and then disappears. After a user sends a quick photo, video, or text, the “snap” self-destructs in under 10 seconds.
This gives the users the freedom to send out any picture without having to worry about it being discovered later in the future. What the y send now disappears within few seconds. Though this could be seen as a big advantage by many users who want to share photos without others getting to know about it, the risk involved is perhaps more than what one would perceive online trading software like Millionaire Blueprint, etc would have.
Since its initial release in September of 2011, this Stanford startup has grown virally among youthful mobile users across the country. Despite Snapchat’s friendly ghost mascot, bright colors and user-friendly setup, that fleeting existence has many parents thinking the current college generation “must be up to something dirty” when they use the application.
The Dish Daily organized an informal survey of more than 20 Stanford parents and other members of the — ahem — more mature generation. Most of the respondents believe Snapchat is used to send “riskier photos,” or “sexts,” among friends. One parent of a Stanford Class of 2015 student summed up the general suspicion this way: “Snapchat is a way for kids to send provocative photos without friends being able to permanently keep the incriminating evidence.”
A Class of 2017 parent expressed some confusion about how the app is used. “I don’t exactly know what Shapchat is, but based on what I’ve read online, ‘sexting’ via Snapchat is becoming a big trend on college campuses.” Two other parents also said they can’t figure the app out, but they know their kids are “addicted.”
The Dish Daily surveyed Stanford students to hear it directly from the user why Snapchat is so popular on campus. Prepare for a shock, parents; “sexting” is not even in the Top 5 uses. What is it being used for?
#1- To send funny and ugly faces to make friends laugh.
“I know that the picture will be deleted so my friends and I have hilarious conversations trying to make the ugliest face.” (Madi, Stanford 2016)
#2- To communicate logistics.
“I can physically show someone where I am in a video or picture rather than write it out.” (Katherine, Stanford 2016)
#3- To show crazy and funny things that are happening in real time.
“If I see something funny happening right in front of me I can take a photo and have a friend/group of friends share the experience with me immediately.” (Connor, Stanford 2014)
#4- To draw on photos.
“With the paint feature I can draw ridiculous things on photos I take.” (Emily, Stanford 2015)
#5- To stay in touch with friends.
“I snap chat more ever since I started college and I think it’s because now I don’t see my friends faces every day” ( Mike, Stanford 2017)
“With Snapchat I can send an image to many people without having an actual conversation. It may not be as personal since I usually send pictures out to a mass list, but I feel like I can reach out and ‘stay in touch’ with a larger group of people.” (Rachel, Stanford 2013)
#6 (or #12 or #23 – hard to say) Sexting
There were a couple of students who said they feel more comfortable sending sexual pictures on Snapchat rather than in a regular text message, and that they use Snapchat more for that reason. But even they pointed out that they are more likely to use Snapchat to send a joke picture to a friend than another “dirty” reason.
Breathe easy, parents; despite Snapchat’s “sexting tool” media buzz most students are using it to communicate and have fun with friends. So with the cold hard facts before you on why children are using Snapchat, will you download it yourself?