Was The iPhone App Snapchat Really Designed Just For Sexting?


The Snapchat icon.

Last month I went to visit my sister at the college she goes to. While we were out to dinner, in the middle of eating her pasta, she put down her fork, picked up her iPhone and snapped a shot of herself making a really weird face. Obviously, I was like, “Um, why did you just do that?” and then she introduced me to Snapchat.

Snapchat is a relatively new iPhone app that I’m a little obsessed with. It allows you to take pictures of yourself and send them to other Snapchat users. What makes this app different from, well, just sending a picture via text message is that these pics don’t get saved on your phone or the phone of the person you’re sending them to. The person who receives the picture can only look at it for up to 10 seconds (you can choose exactly how long you want them to see it), and then it just disappears. As my younger sister describes it, you can send really ugly/weird pictures of yourself to people without worrying about them using it as blackmail later on.

So what does this have to do with sexting? Well, what’s the first thing you think of when you hear about an app where you can send pics for only a few seconds before they disappear? Um, sexting. Right? That was my first thought when my sister described it to me. Think about it: you send a revealing picture of yourself, the lucky person who’s getting it gets to see it for a few seconds and then, poof, it’s gone. You can stop worrying about your racy pics going viral or being shown off to various pervy dudes.

Except… is that true? While Snapchat doesn’t allow photos to be saved on your phone, it can’t stop the person who receives the pic from taking a screen shot. Although the app will alert you that the person is taking a screen shot, it’s still happening – and there probably isn’t much you can do about it.

Buzzfeed.com calls Snapchat a “sexting” app, and talks about all of the problems that come along with this sort of app used by unsuspecting teens. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has stated that “The minute you tell someone that images on your server disappear, everyone jumps to sexting.” He also said this about sexting using Snapchat: “I just don’t know people who do that. It doesn’t seem that fun when you can have real sex.”

Uh, hold on, Even Spiegel. While I don’t know if teens are using Snapchat specifically for sexting, I do know that lots of teens out there sext in general. And no matter how much we talk about how much sexting can suck, people are still going to do it.

But, I don’t know – is that really all people use Snapchat for? Or are just some teens using it for this and giving it a bed reputation? I personally don’t use Snapchat for sexting and maybe that’s because I’m really boring or maybe it’s because it does have other purposes. For example, my sister and I use Snapchat together on a daily basis. She lives at her college three hours away, and we miss each other! Instead of just texting or calling, we send Snapchats to each other throughout the day. They’re usually just of us making weird/funny faces, showing off the food we’re eating or one amazing one she sent me was of her dorm room pet mouse floating in a  homemade boat in the sink.

Basically, Snapchat is how we keep in touch. It’s also how I keep in touch with a few of my other friends who I don’t get to see as often. I mean, who wants to open up their camera app and take a picture and then send it and then wait, like, two minutes for it to go through texting/iMessage when they could just snap a pic quickly with Snapchat and send it within 10 seconds?

I’ll admit that Snapchat at first seems like a perfect way to sext. And if taking screen shots weren’t possible, then maybe it would be. After all, the pictures would disappear, never to be seen again, and you and your buddy could both be happy about sending each other nakey pics (although, still…). But the fact is, taking screen shots is still possible, and so your private pictures are not 100 percent off limits to the rest of the world. The worst part? You’re literally being notified that it’s happening.

Bottom line? You probably shouldn’t use Snapchat for sexting. Aw, don’t look at me like that guys. I’m sorry. I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s fun, but sexting is just such a bad idea! You’ll thank me later when your naked body isn’t being passed around your school or online. Trust me.

Do you use Snapchat? Do you use it for sexting? Do you think doing that is stupid or foolproof? Tell us in the comments!


Is it ever okay to sext a friend?

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