Tech Tips

The Scoop On Snapchat

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram─ they’re old news. The latest trend in digital communication between friends is Snapchat. It’s fast, it’s fluid, and it’s here to stay─ for at least 10 seconds. Find out what’s great about it, and what has some people worried.

Disappearing Act

Snapchat users share stuff, just like Facebook and Instagram users do. They upload videos and photos that the people in their network can see. The difference? The video or photo message exists for between one and ten seconds. The sender has the power to decide its lifespan. After that, the message disappears─ no longer visible or accessible to anyone.

Snapchat Teen Spirit

Teens are the largest fan base for this new communication method. Some parents worry that bullies may use Snapchat as a method of torturing others without leaving any record or proof of their behavior behind. Other parents are concerned about sexting and about the possibility that photos or videos sent in a moment of poor judgment could wind up being captured and released.

Life after Deletion

It’s true that nothing ever really vanishes from the Internet. In fact, one forensics examiner has released information on how he captured Snapchat data from an Android smartphone and moved that information to a PC where he could access the deleted files.

In addition, Snapchats are not immune to the possibility of a screen capture. Someone can take a photo or video of the on-screen Snapchat message with another smartphone and save that data for later viewing. However, the likelihood is fairly low, in part because of a Snapchat message’s brief lifespan. When an image is set to self-destruct in a couple of seconds, it leaves very little time for the receiver to find another phone and take a picture.

Snapchat Safety Tips

Other safeguards are in place, such as the ability to block a Snapchat user. Anyone who knows an your phone number or Snapchat user name can add you to their “My Friends” list and send you a message. However, if the sender’s messages are uninteresting, offensive, or harmful in some way, you can locate that person’s name in your list and block them. If you have an Android phone, you press the name until the menu pops up and then tap “Block.” For an iOS phone, swipe to the right across the name and then block the individual.

If you or someone in your family uses Snapchat, keep a few key points in mind. Remember that whatever you send could reappear someday. Block anyone who is a negative or harmful influence in your life. Enjoy the ability to share life’s fleeting yet amazing moments with your friends and family.

Bill Gordon

Bill Gordon has been writing on tech and malware subjects for 6 years and has been working in the internet and tech industry for over 15 years. He currently lives in Southern California.

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