Snapchat: Fun way to communicate or parent’s worst nightmare?

Over the holidays, my younger cousins introduced me to Snapchat – a mobile app that allows you to send a self-destructing photo or video to a friend. Yes, even WGN’s ‘Web Watcher’ has to get schooled by her younger relatives in what’s hot online sometimes!

Some are hailing Snapchat as “the next Instagram” and “the anti-Facebook;” unlike Facebook, there’s no record in Snapchat of your photos or videos. You must set the Snapchat you send to vanish in 1 second or up to 10 seconds after the person you sent it to has opened the file. So, feel free to make a funny face and click send — the photo will only be seen by whoever you sent it to, and then disappear.

Oh, and did I mention Facebook came up with their own Snapchat-like mobile app? Facebook Poke is free for iPhone but doesn’t feel as intuitive as Snapchat.

However, some are voicing concern over this new way of mobile communicating. Some say that Snapchat users might only be using the app for “sexting” naughty pictures to one another. And what about cyberbullying? These apps could offer a cyber-bully a discreet way to send their victim a mean video that will delete after he or she watches it.

Kind of scary, right? Well, like all new technology, we just have to be mindful of how we use it. It might be worth having a conversation with your children about how they might use these apps!

Snapchat is free for iPhone and Android phones.

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