Snapchat sexting was not the original idea when Snapchat was launched in 2011, Snapchat has grown rapidly. When giving your child a phone, it is important that you also discuss the responsible use of it, the same as any tool. The main appeal to children of Snapchat is that the messages are deleted once read. Unlike Whatsapp there is therefore no trail or evidence. This can make children more careless in what they do, but it is naive for children to believe that these images and texts are not stored. There are other forms of social media that your child may use and we talk about these more generally here.
What Is Snapchat Sexting?
The act of sexting involves receiving or sending sexually explicit messages. This includes photos, videos, and texts. They can be sent as part of a mutual relationship, or due to coercion, peer pressure or bullying. Although Snapchat forbids this and does not condone it, there is nothing they have set up to stop it such as image identification.
Snapchat would seem the ideal method to use. Children think that Snapchat tells them if someone has taken a screen shot. However there are workarounds such as screen recorders that can be downloaded that store the images. Having worked with bullying victims I can assure you that it is possible to do this without the sender knowing.
These hacks further represent that nothing is really private or safe once it gets on the web. Sadly, the vanishing message include leaves youngsters with a misguided sensation that all is well and good. Many accept their messages are secure and distant without assent. However, that is a long way from reality on the grounds that Snapchat private messages aren’t protected.
Stats About Teen Snapchat Sexting
A study of high school students eight years ago showed around a third of the teenagers had sent or received sexts. Another study made it around a quarter. So to believe it is a small minority and would not be your child is naive. Interestingly more boys reported receiving nudes then girls. Whether this is because they are asking for them, girls feel that they should is not clear. This is mostly consensual and could be seen as a modern day ‘fumble in a cupboard’. Evidence suggests that around 10% of those sent and received are non-consensual.
These numbers are always going to be difficult to make reliable. First, like many types of abuse, it requires a victim to come forward. If they have been blackmailed to do it, it is unlikely they will reveal it in a survey. Unfortunately abuse is notoriously hard to uncover. Also children may not see it as ‘wrong’ as so many do it, but know that they don’t want parents to know. In the same way underage drinking and cannabis use is often under-reported.
Signs That Your Child Might Be Snapchat Sexting
Secrecy when a new message come into their phone When their phone is lying around ‘Snaps’ will appear on the home screen. Hopefully your child does not have their phone in their room overnight. There might be harmless reasons why your child won’t open their snaps in front of you, such as rude words or expressing feelings for their partner. However it should raise a red flag.
Names that you do not recognise This could be worrying as they might be exposed to an older group who might make their ‘friendship’ tied to doing ‘grown up things’. Your child might be trying to fit in with what they perceive as the norm.
Poor grades at school If they have been involved in Snapchat sexting they could be concerned with what has happened with the images. Perhaps, even if the image has not been shared, the knowledge that your child has done it may be. This will make school very uncomfortable.
Poor sleep and behavior As above this is due to the worry that they have due to the situation they are in. Even if it is not the images themselves, it could be to do with cyberbullying. Perhaps after sending one image they now feel to keep their partners interest they must send more, and perhaps even more inappropriate ones. They could also be being exposed to porn and are losing sight of what is normal and not with sexuality.
Intervening in Snapchat Sexting
As above, there could be several reasons why your child might be involved in sexting. More importantly it could be consensual or not. Therefore the first step is education of the risks and ‘norms’, and then look further to see if you need to intervene in case of bullying or grooming.
Can you deal with the image We give advice about how you might approach removing any images that you are uncomfortable with in this article.
Education before the event Openly discuss the potential harm that snapchat sexting could cause your child. Explain the dangers of falling victim to blackmail, cyberbullying, and sexual predators. Let your child know there’s no guarantee that the recipient won’t forward conversations. For example, send a nude to one person, and they can forward it to all their friends.
Explain the legal implications One of the most worrying things that children don’t realise is that, by sharing nudes, they are legally making and distributing child pornography. The police are likely not going to get involved if it is consensual between two older teenagers. However if there is a suggestion of grooming this is the route they will go down as it is easier to prove than grooming. This could mean that a child who is in receipt of an image and forwards it on could have a criminal record that, due to the severity of the offence, is often reportable for the rest of their lives. It will also mean that they could be added to the sex-offenders register.
Make a clone of your child’s phone It is possible to clone your child’s phone so that you can see all messages going in and out of the phone.
Install a guardian app. There are a number of these on the market that will send you alerts if there is risky behavior on your child’s phone.
Final Thoughts on Snapchat Sexting
It is understandable to be worried about snapchat sexting as it is a sign that your child is becoming sexualised. Whether this is right or wrong is very much age and family dependent. However there are several issues that are not negotiable. Firstly it could easily be something that regret massively in the future. If they would not put the image in a text message, snapchat does not make this different. Also, if they are in a relationship where this is expected this should be concern that it is toxic and controlling so there is a reason for them to leave.