Let’s have an honest conversation about (my experience with) Snapchat

I am not going to lie: I hesitated to download the Snapchat app; I did not like the app at all; I gave it a chance, more than once; and I made a conscious decision to avoid it completely over the past few days. However, Snapchat is more than the app I did not like; it is was part of my major project for the #eci832 course.

I just clicked “uninstall Snapchat”, on my phone screen, two seconds ago. Sorry, not sorry.

Image (modified): TeenSafe

Should I have read the “Guide to Snapchat for People Who Don’t Get Snapchat” before deleting the app? Oh, no, I just realized I haven’t tried the butterfly headband filter! To be honest, I never took the time to learn the ins and outs of the app.

Before making the decisions to delete the app and write this post, I took the time to read some articles on parents’ concerns on Snapchat safety.

Think about this:

“For teens, Snapchat offers a false sense of security with it’s disappearing messages.”

It is a “false sense” because we all know that it is easy to save online content by taking a screenshot or a video (using another phone, in this case). So, there are no guarantees that Snapchat messages are gone for good after they disappear.

Another thing:

“… Snapchat [is] … ‘one of the only apps that is relatively private.’ Even parents who do have access to their children’s Snapchat are unlikely to see the messages sent and received through the app.”

When you know think your posts are private or temporary, it may open the doors for a lack of responsibility. I believe that true integrity doesn’t care about these things. If you have integrity, you will never discard a paper on the side of the road even when nobody is watching. However, are we still talking about integrity with our kids/students? Do they know what integrity means and how it affects a person’s reputation? Well, reputation; another concept, right? This post explains eight key areas of integrity and responsible use of digital technology, in case you want to read more about the topic.

I am wondering if people would avoid sharing certain messages or pictures via Snapchat if it didn’t have these ephemeral features…

I am going to shift gears here: I am not going to keep exploring specific apps for my major project anymore. I want to learn more about digital citizenship and explore ways to involve my adult students in this kind of conversation. I believe that, if we help our students understand their responsibility around what they post, like, or share online, they will become more selective not only about the apps they use but also their relationships on social media. I believe that by asking ourselves about the possible consequences of our online interactions, we can become better (digital) citizens.

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