Snapchat has long been heralded as a sexting app.
It seemed so consequence-free initially; your pictures disappeared after a few seconds, so sending risque photos was harmless (Of course, users quickly realised you could screenshot snaps, and people created workarounds to let you record Snapchats surreptitiously).
But the media-sharing company is now asking its users to be thoughtful about their Snapchatted pictures and to keep their clothes on — at least if they’re under 18, or sending pictures to someone who is.
“Snapchat is a fast, fun way to share moments with friends and family,” the page says. Most of our community uses Snapchat every day, so it isn’t surprising that parents and teachers regularly ask us for advice. When it came to building our safety center, we partnered with experts.”
There’s also links to Snapchat’s Abuse and Safety center and its community guidelines, the latter of which seems to intend to keep Snapchat free from the treacherous legal zone that is child pornography.
A database of hacked Snapchat pictures released in October, known colloquially as “The Snappening,” contained at least 100,000 pictures and videos from a third-party Snapchat app. According to 4chan’s users, the leak contained a large amount of child pornography, videos and photos sexted between teenagers. Half of Snapchat’s users are teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17.
In November 2013, ten teenaged boys in Quebec received child pornography charges after a teacher caught one student with explicit Snapchat pictures.
“Laval [Quebec] police arrested the 10 boys who police allege were trading photos — in several cases, of each other’s girlfriends — among themselves on their smartphones,” the CBC reported. “All of the teens were charged with possession and distribution of child pornography, while two of the boys also face charges for producing child pornography.”
Here are some snippets from Snapchat’s guidelines. The whole thing’s online here, if you’d like to take a look.
“Be thoughtful about what you Snap and whom you send it to. It’s ok with us if someone takes a screenshot, but we can’t speak for you or your friends. Snapchat attempts to detect screenshots and notify the sender, but it doesn’t always work perfectly – and your friend can always capture the image with a camera.
Keep it legal. Don’t use Snapchat for any illegal shenanigans and if you’re under 18 or are Snapping with someone who might be: keep your clothes on!
What not to Snap:
Nudity or sexually suggestive content involving minors (people under the age of 18)
Minors engaged in activities that are physically dangerous and harmful
Invasions of privacy
Harassment or Bullying
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