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Teenagers and SnapChat

One of the most popular apps teenagers are using today is an app that snaps a picture, sends to a friend… and then the picture disappears after just a few seconds.

… or does it?

I’m talking about Snapchat. I blogged about this app last May when it first began growing popular (I encourage you to read that post, because I provide some of the real numbers about “sexting” and how much of a concern this issue really is… or isn’t).

Well, now the app is more mainstream, and most kids know about it and use it. It’s the 16th most popular download in the free iTunes store as I type this. More than 20 millions photos are shared each day. If you hang out with teenagers, you’ve probably heard about it.

Here’s what The Today Show had to say about it:

So, should parents be worried?

The video nailed it with two facts:

1. The pictures are NOT just temporary, because EVERY kids knows how to do a screenshot of incoming pictures. Now the picture that someone intended to be temporary… is saved on someone’s phone. You’ll find a host of articles about this all over the web.

2. Parents need to have conversations about this with their kids. Kids need to be reminded of accountability. In short, Snapchat should be treated like any other picture they take.

My good friend Adam McLane, author of A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media, just happened to blog about this yesterday as well and offers 5 insightful principles for parents, teenagers and youth workers to consider.

Some parents are banning their kids from downloading this app. Will that solve the problem? Or do parents just need to start having more conversations about responsibility and accountability?

Have you noticed your kids using Snapchat? Is banning the app from your kids the solution? Why or why not?

What conversations have you had with your kids about this popular app?

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Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to Four Battles Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources on TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. Jonathan and his wife Lori live in Northern California.