Allowing Ghosts of the Past to Haunt Our Futures



by Emily DiGiusto
Class of 2015

Snapchat, a current social networking sensation, highlights just what it does best with the icon that represents it. A friendly, harmless looking ghost beckons users to trust the application with their security and privacy, while at the same time opening the doors to numerous opportunities for temptation and exploitation of personal information and identities. What users think disappears after the set time limit, in actuality, remains highly accessible to hackers, the internet world, and people you thought you could trust.

Though Snapchat is most commonly used to send silly images to friends, chatting through facial expressions or objects around you, the extent of freedom the app leaves in the hands of its users is alarming. With self-destructive images, sexting has become much more comfortable. Doug Gross of CNN reports that Snapchat users may think their naughty images will never come back to haunt them, but people can still screenshot and save images. When this happens, the user is notified, but by then the damage has practically already been done. There is little one can do to stop the spread of something on the internet, and even less they can do to correct the mistakes of their past when these images are out there, waiting to be found.

Lilly of the USA in an article found from the said that most kids use Snapchat for silly conversations, but those who do use Snapchat for sexting “are smart enough to only send private photos to people [they] trust, so they don’t (usually) get sent around and [they] don’t need to bother with deleting them.” Therein lies a huge flaw in reasoning: you can never be sure of who you can trust- especially not during the typically self-absorbed teenage years of your life. People being “smart enough” to send private photos to people they can “trust” is a paradox. Lilly’s confidence in this statement highlights the true dangers of the ignorance of the generations using Snapchat. With so much freedom that could so quickly be abused, why should we allow such an app to be so accessible to the kids of today?

Putting confidence in an app that is imperfect is foolishness that can and should be prevented. According to James Nye, Snapchat’s policy says that while it tries to erase photos quickly it, ‘cannot guarantee that the message data will be deleted in every case.’ It adds that ‘Messages, therefore, are sent at the risk of the user.’ Why take the chance? Why make yourself vulnerable to the internet world where you can never hide from the things you’ve done- where your mistakes will be documented forever?

There is another way to save Snapchat images that you send to your friends, as well, but in a way that doesn’t notify them that you have done it. Snap Save is a separate app that allows you to open your Snapchats and save them automatically without the sender knowing. This provides a constant possibility that your photos- whether they be inappropriate, or just embarrassing images that you don’t want resurfacing- have been saved, whether you wanted them to be or not, by people you thought you could trust. According to James Cook, this website admits it was the source of 100,000 leaked Snapchat photos and videos. We shouldn’t even allow the chance for the youth of our country to become prey to these applications.

Kids are not necessarily to blame for this ignorance. It is the adults who should make it their job to become aware of all of the possible dangers of what their children have access to, and to give them the guidance that they need. Kids are young, irresponsible, and bound to make mistakes, as it is an essential part of growing up. However, the possibilities for permanent damage through Snapchat is something that should be addressed and stopped, in order to provide a better, safer future for the generation in the making.

Emily DiGiusto is a student in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition