I’ve been engaged in various forms of social media since AOL chat rooms in 1994. And I’ve never seen a more dangerous application targeting teenagers, specifically girls, than SnapChat.
The premise of SnapChat is simple. You take a picture, send it to a friend, and they can only see it for up to 10 seconds before it’s deleted.
And that’s where the lie begins.
I want to be blunt. My goal for this post is to motivate you to delete SnapChat from your phone.
Reason #1 – SnapChat is built on a lie
In my book, A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media, I share three rules about social media which lead me to the conclusion that SnapChat isn’t to be trusted:
Rule #1 – Everything posted online is public
The central premise of SnapChat is that what you are sending is private. That’s a lie. There is a very real risk that everything you share with any app or on any website will become public. One day, every image you post online may become associated with your name. When you post something online you give up the ability to control where that image goes. So even if you aren’t using your real name to post with SnapChat, that “private image” may one day pop up in a Google Search of your name.
The same is true of anywhere you post something online. You always must know that what you are posting could become public.
Rule #2 – There’s no such thing as anonymity online, only perceived anonymity.
Any time your device connects to the internet it associates 100% of your activity with your device. (Every device has a unique identifier, like a finger print. When you buy it and register it that transaction is linked to you and everything you do with it is ultimately pointing back to you.)
Every site, every image you upload/download, every search, every call… everything is associated with that device. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Even if you delete it. Even if you use a proxy server. Even if… E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
The content isn’t always saved, but the activity itself most definitely is.
With SnapChat, the perception that your account is anonymous… meaning it is using a pseudonym [An account name] and not your real name, makes it easy to think that you are disassociating what you send on SnapChat from “the real you.”
Pure and simple. Perceived anonymity is dangerous. And SnapChat uses that to their advantage to get you to trust it. Over time you’ll begin to think that if you’re using a fake name, what you send can’t be tracked back to you.
But that’s not how the internet works at all.