Students risk privacy with popular social media app

By Abbey | Staff Writer

With over 100 million daily active users and over 40 percent of those being under the age of 24, Snapchat is undoubtedly the most popular social media site among teenagers and young adults. It is estimated that teens spend around nine hours a day on social media, so how does an app like snapchat speak so powerfully about today’s culture, and how is it changing our daily lives?

Snapchat was built on a lie. Snapchat is marketed to people on the premise that they take a picture and then send it, and once the person on the other end receives it, then it will go away forever. In truth, when users agree to the terms of service, they are signing off on the possibility of all of their information and all the snapchats they have ever sent to be sold for marketing purposes.

“It honestly scares me how nothing I send is secure anymore,” Sophomore Emma Young said. In January Snapchat compromised the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million users, proving that their information isn’t as safe as they believe it is.

It is a common misconception that snapchats are secure. “Every device has a unique identifier, like a fingerprint,” author and social media blogger Adam McLane wrote. “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.”

Snapchats are easily recoverable, and Snapchat legally owns them when users agree to the terms of service. Contrary to popular belief, text messages are much more secure with regards to privacy, because a warrant is needed to access them.

When initially created, Snapchat was designed as a sexting app, and was originally called Picaboo. And while it is common knowledge that some users download it for that purpose, it would be in their best interest to know that being in possession of graphic photos of anyone under the age of 18 is considered possession of child pornography. Anyone who has sent or received explicit pictures risks having charges pressed against them.

Feeling pressure to send inappropriate pictures to others is not uncommon, especially in high school. The chances of them being linked to the sender and sent around are highly likely, but there is so much to lose. There are far too many stories of students losing scholarships, friends, and the respect of those around them because they were linked in some way to an illicit photo.

“I have too much at stake to send anything I wouldn’t want the whole the whole world to see,” sophomore Lily Winkelmann said.

Another phenomenon associated with social media, Snapchat especially, is FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” This is due to the fact that people feel the need to share everything they are doing online, making it extremely hard for those who weren’t invited to not feel excluded.

“Of course I feel left out sometimes after checking Snapchat, doesn’t everyone?” sophomore Isabella Tatum said.

Most of all, Snapchat takes its users away from what is right in front of them.

“It is kind of sad to think about all of the time I lost staring at my phone,” sophomore Lynn Dahan said. The precious memories lost while staring at a screen cannot be taken back. And sadly, the future looks dim, considering most people spend more time looking at a screen than they do interacting with people.

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Categories: Features

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