The drive for technology, ease of use, and endless entertainment possibilities have vigorously overtaken the once simple-to-use device: the telephone. Not only has it gone cordless, it has become one of America’s most necessary devices to stay in touch with life, family, business and… entertainment. Now, this technology falls into the hands of our younger counterparts, accessing the many worlds beyond their front door – right in the palm of their hands.
They can access not only the Internet but the far recesses of the earth – another individual who they just happen to “snap chat” with. Should you be concerned? Hell yes! Do you need to control and condemn your child’s use of one of the many applications available for social media? Nope; rather, sit down, grab some chips, and chat with them about it.
Sexting… is this possible with Snapchat? It’s one of the latest trends that has had some pretty devastating consequences with teens ever since it became an option. Now with Snapchat in the mix, who’s to say what or to whom your teen or tween is sending or receiving messages about (or picturing). It’s kinda scary knowing that inappropriate content may be invading your teens’ immature mental and emotional mind. However, instead of fretting, worrying, or feeling like you have to nag at your child to disclose or ban what they are doing on their phones, take a moment and discuss what apps they are allowed to partake in, and then give your approval to do so.
What exactly is Snapchat? It’s a mobile app that allows its users to capture videos and pictures that self-destruct after just a few short seconds. The person who is sending the message decides whether it will self-destruct in 10 seconds… or less. After that, it’s history… or so one may think.
Let your teen know that you will periodically check the content of their social media interactions.
Right off the bat, be upfront about it. There’s no need to sneak behind your child’s back to check up on them; they are your children. You are the parent. It is your responsibility to protect and shelter them from harm – harm that can be and is in the social media world. They may call it spying, but it really doesn’t matter – you’re parenting. They may fuss at you for a moment, however, in the same breath, they’ll appreciate that you’ve got their back and their best interests in mind – okay, that may take a couple of weeks, but really it’s true.
Not all teens are trying to be inappropriate. A good way to start the conversation is to go in giving your teen the benefit of the doubt. Let them know that there are other crazy, stupid kids out there who will do something they may regret one day and won’t be able to take it back once it’s all over the Internet. Give them props, encouraging them about how you see them as so much wiser than “the other kids”. You are simply voicing, that in case they interact with these “other” obstinate kids, you trust that they will respond appropriately and won’t have to suffer the consequences of their own actions.
Be sure they understand how Snapchat works. Kids these days really aren’t reading the fine print when downloading and using the latest social app-fad. Let them know, that not only you but others can recall any “deleted” snapchat messages or images. Just like computer files that are supposedly “deleted” – they aren’t. It is certainly possible to retrieve data that was once thought lost. According to Decipher Forensics:
The author has concluded that metadata is stored for Snapchat images, as shown by the com.snapchat.android_preferences.xml file, and that it contains metadata about expired “snaps” as well as unexpired “snaps,” and that images that are sent via Snapchat are indeed recoverable, and do not “disappear forever.”
Be sure to present your teen with even the slightest possibility of recovering their swift and momentary snaps – let the fear of retribution (this usually helps) also lend a hand in helping them become wiser about their choices of messages and pictures.
Most importantly, let them know you trust them enough to even have a phone and all the perks contained therein. They are at an age not only to enjoy the technology and plethora of social media outlets, but they can make the decision to be responsible and respectful of themselves and others. Reiterate that inappropriate behavior does not serve them well. It’s not funny and the wise ‘ole tale – if it isn’t nice, don’t do it, as you wouldn’t want it done to you.
With a loving hug and voice of trust – a gentle reminder of “check-ins” is not such a bad idea. They still need your guidance!