Snapchat is safe, as long as users are being kind and respectful online. However, the app has potential to be harmful for users under 18 year of age because the snaps are quickly deleted. This makes it almost impossible for parents to monitor what their child is doing within the application. As a result of this self-destructing feature children can fall into the trap of thinking that their snaps aren't permanent and tend to send snaps without thinking of the consequences.
This self-destructing feature is particularly relevant to the issue of ‘nudes’ and explicit images. Because snaps disappear automatically, Snapchat tends to be the application of choice for young individuals wishing to send explicit images. The self-destructing nature of snaps encourages children to believe their explicit images cannot be saved. Children, as a consequence, may more readily self-generate explicit images because they are under the impression it is safer to do so on Snapchat. This is not the case - while Snapchat does notify users if their snap is screenshotted, many users take photographs of a snap from another device in order to deceive the sender into thinking their image has not been saved. This is a way many children avoid sending a ‘Screenshotted’ notification to other users, and a way that many users save nudes non-consensually. The consequences of Snapchat’s self-destructing image feature can be serious as, for many children, it encourages this type of behaviour.