Snapchat is one of the most popular social media platforms used widely by teenagers and young adults from all over the world. This mobile application is highly entertaining and enables you to communicate with anyone through instant images and short videos that can be used to capture any moment.
The best-known feature of this application is the Snapchat stories. In this feature, you can compile your best photos and videos and publish it as a story for all of your friends and family to view. These stories last on your page for a maximum of 24 hours and they can be viewed by people multiple times.
A lot of teenagers use this to their advantage as it allows them to share snaps from their lives from the past 24 hours and share them with everyone. Your story can also be made public using a sub-feature called Our Story. Anyone who uses Snapchat will be able to browse through these public stories and you will find a lot of brands and celebrities using it
If you are a teenager, you probably already know how Snapchat works. If you do not, you are probably born in the 90’s and are over 25 years of age. So how does Snapchat work? It is a very simple registration procedure where you have to provide your basic details such as your name, birthday, and your email address.
Some Pointers to Keep in Mind while using Snapchat
Be careful when you choose your names because teenagers usually choose to go for silly names when they first create their account and then regret it later as it cannot be changed.
After creating your account, you can easily add someone as your friend by scanning a picture of their ‘snap code’ or searching for their username in the search box. Once you have made friends, you can start communication with them. There is a small different, you usually send them a picture rather then a text to start a conversation.
There are all sorts of filters, video effects, short games, and lenses that you can try out and share with your friends. There is also an added feature of group texting where you can send texts and images to many people at the same time.
In addition to creating groups, using filters and adding new friends, Snapchat has com up with a lot of new features. There is a ‘discover’ option where you will b able to view various videos, article and blogs from your favorite artists and brands. You also have access to news and entertainment, quizzes and video editing tools.
There is also Snap Maps where you can see the exact location of your other friends of Snapchat and you can also create “streaks” with them where you send them snaos on consecutive days to keep the streak alive. However, we know you are not reading this article to know how to use Snapchat.
Read more: Is it Safe to Send Nude Pics on Snapchat?
The Dark Side of Snapchat – Revenge Porn
There is a more dark aspect to this application. According to the terms and conditions of using Snapchat, a user must be at least 13 years of age. When a user is prompted to enter their birth date, there is no such thing as an age verification and hence, kids under the age of 13 can easily sign up using false birth dates. Most times, there is a risk that young users might have access to content that is inappropriate and unfiltered.
Have you heard of “Snapchat Premium?” One of the newly emerging dark side of Snapchat is the “Snapchat Premium” feature. It is a seemingly personalized trend that is currently rapidly growing and is starting to become dangerous.
A Snapchat premium account is basically a normal account made private and account owners can charge a fee for users to take a look at it. Many times, people who are part of the porn industry use these accounts to show explicit porn footage of themselves. And if you just make a small payment, a regular influx of self-made porn straight to your snapchat.
Porn creators are exploiting the users of these premium accounts and using them as their target audience. The social and psychological effects of porn are already damaging enough but the negative consequences of porn is much worse when it victimizes someone. There are categories such as revenge porn and deep fake porn which allows porn creators to use content of non-consenting people who have absolutely no affiliation with the adult industry. This is like porn-on-demand but it is under the disguise of a premium account.
There are no positive upsides to revenge porn as it victimizes people and affects them negatively in the society. It is psychologically abusive and considered as an invasion of privacy. Sadly, many people are using Snapchat Premium as a tool to spread the use of such content.
Unfortunately, it is hard for these inappropriate accounts to be taken down as Snapchat cannot flag or delete these as they are private. People who want to have access to it pay money for it and it is quite unlikely that they report such content.
How Snapchat enters the Adult Industry
The premium snapchat accounts crosses the boundaries of people in various ways and is being exploited for sexual purposes. It overlaps mainstream porn and crosses our limits in terms of keep such explicit content away from our lives.
Social media is a platform that should foster healthy connection with people and sharing our lives with them. However, with personalized porn being directly sold to unsuspecting people, they are confronted with the content that they do not want to see. Sometimes, you may have to pay to access such material but many times, it just pops on your Snapchat discover page and you do not have control over it.
As a result, you end up with fake personal connections and may probably replace your actual sex life as you are picking a stranger to provide you with that connection online rather than being the receiving end of it in your real-life.
You may think that most people on Snapchat Premium are consenting adults taking a active role in these transactional “relationships”. However, there is no method through which you can check can confirm if these people are adults and not teenagers with smartphones and internet.
In this way, Snapchat is prone to illegal and illicit content as well who are exposed to an unmonitored and unregulated system with various loopholes that can be accessed easily by anyone.
Unfortunately, through these means, Snapchat may provide the door that’s required for sex trafficking and exploitation and hence leads to much bigger and disturbing problems. By having a Snapchat Premium account, a user is able to penetrate the barriers of security and do not have to go through a host site or get their IDs verified.
So, Should you Use Snapchat? Is it Good or Bad?
There is no answer to this question. Despite the popularity and trendiness of the application, many parents are extremely concerned that the inappropriate content may be exposed to their children which may have long term effects. For parents who monitor their children’s mobile usage, snapchat does not have the option to save snaps and messages that can be viewed later.
Secondly, the disappearing nature of the snaps makes it harder to take screenshots of content from the receiver ad hence this raises concerns. Without being able to do these, snapchat may be used by teenagers for “sexting” and sending/receiving inappropriate content on a frequent basis.
You may think that Snapchat is a fun app which allows you to post silly and entertaining pictures without thinking twice. However, it might make its way into dangerous sites if you are not careful and might stay on those sites forever.
You may feel like the disappearing images offer security but that is in fact untrue. You must always remain alert about what you access and what data goes from your phone into social media.
Snapchat is very engaging when used appropriately with ground rules that concern your safety. However, you must remember that apps like these may expose you to the secret world of Snapchat Premium where it may lead to disturbing habits of paying for porn.
Stay vigilant about your virtual surrounding and stay to stay away as much as possible from features like Snapchat Premium. Would you risk your data being exploited? Comment your decisions and opinions in the comment section below.