Snapchat is huge and is growing it’s user base all the time. Sexting is almost as huge and it too is growing as a pastime. But is it a good idea? Is it safe to sext using social media? Is it safe to send nude pics on Snapchat? Let’s find out.
Snapchat is so much more than just sexting. It’s a superb social network that allows users to post images online that have a (theoretically) finite life. Those images are supposed to self-destruct anywhere between 1 and 10 seconds depending on how you set it up, but as I’ll show you, that isn’t necessarily true.
Used for general socializing, Snapchat is a great network to share your life with others. You can take snaps, add text and emoji and generally express yourself however you see fit. Most celebrities, movie stars, fashion icons and all those people we love to watch are also on the network, making it the place to be for keeping up with the world around us. However, there is another side to Snapchat, sexting.
Originally it was teens who used the app for sexting, now it is people of all ages who use it. Theoretically, you would think it safe to send nude pics on Snapchat. After all, the image disappears after 10 seconds never to be seen again, right? Wrong.
Right to life
Perform a quick internet search for ‘save Snapchat pics’ or words to that effect and you will see a few hundred websites purporting to show you how to keep snaps you are sent. Some will even show you how to do it without notifying the sender that you are saving the snap. That alone should send alarm bells ringing.
By default, Snapchat detects when you take a screenshot on your device while the app is open. If you’re taking a screenshot of a snap, Snapchat informs the sender. All well and good, but that doesn’t make the snap go away. It will likely stop someone sending more, but the damage may already be done.
There is a simple way to do this too.
- Turn on Airplane mode on your device when the snap you want to keep appears.
- Take a screenshot of the snap and save it somewhere.
- Remove the screenshot alert on the phone.
- Turn off Airplane mode.
Turning off airplane mode stops Snapchat informing the other party that you have taken a screenshot of the snap.
Alternatively, you can take a picture of the screen with another camera or use an emulator such as Bluestacks to run Snapchat on a PC and take traditional screenshots without Snapchat detecting it. As always, where there is a will there is a way.
So now you know that it is possible to save snaps past their 10 second lifespan, why would someone do that? Apart from the obvious. Ever heard of ‘outing’? Outing isn’t just a nice day out, it is a practice that is common across all social networks. It is when naked images of you are shared online without your consent. An ‘outer’ keeps those images of you on their phone and then posts them to a website that hosts such things for the amusement of others. There are more of these websites than you might hope and they often feature nude pics saved from Snapchat.
There are quite a few Tumblogs and websites dedicated to just this practice and they change regularly to avoid legal issues. While you do have legal rights over these kinds of images, enforcing those rights can be next to impossible.
Other compelling reasons why you should not send nude pics on Snapchat
Aside from outing, there are a number of reasons why you should never send nude pics of yourself on Snapchat or any other app.
The internet is forever
The idea that images are only online temporarily or that social networks come and go is technically true but also not. Images are archived, entire websites are recorded, reverse image lookups make finding identities easy and images are often copied from one website and used on others.
Nothing is ever truly deleted from the web. Visit The Wayback Machine if you don’t believe me. Type in a URL of a website or web page of a site long gone and prepare to be amazed.
Once it is out there, it is out there
The one thing you should consider before posting anything to a social network is, ‘would I be happy with my boss/mother/father/sister/partner seeing this?’ If the answer is no, don’t post it. While your intended audience may have no intention of showing it to anyone, once you send that pic, your control over it ends.
If you have a falling out with the recipient, you have to then trust their good nature to not do anything with that image. How many people do you imagine would be that trustworthy?
I have mentioned it already but this point is so important, I’m mentioning it again. Once you post something online, in Snapchat or anywhere, you lost control of that something. It is out there, free for anyone to do with what they will. That could mean nothing, which is great. It could also mean something, which isn’t so great.
Revenge porn, outing, blackmail and more can all begin with the wrong nude pic in the wrong hands. While it may never happen, it is a risk and a serious risk.
You know Snapchat Story right? The feature that allows you to share images and videos? The feature that does not self-destruct after 10 seconds? Do you know how easy it is to accidentally post something to a Story rather than just send it to someone? While you can quickly remove it, you have to pray that nobody saw the image or video you just posted.
If you accidentally hit that little rectangle icon with the plus in it, you are out there. You will need to move fast to take it down before someone notices it. Here’s how:
- Select the Story you just posted.
- Tap the trash icon on the bottom of the screen.
- Confirm deletion.
The snap will now be deleted, hopefully before anyone noticed it!
You don’t know who you’re talking to
Unless you do actually know the person you are talking to, you have no idea who the other person is, how old they are, what they want and what they will do with your nude selfie. That person could be much older, much younger, a criminal or just generally strange.
You really have no idea who you are talking to as people will say anything to get what they want. If you have used the internet for any length of time, you will already be well aware of how people can behave online. You don’t need me to labor the point.
Colleges and employers check social networks
While in theory, snaps should never appear on a social network or anywhere online, as you now know, that doesn’t mean to say they won’t. Having your nude pics hijacked not only makes life difficult in the here and now, it can also have ramifications further down the line. Colleges, recruiters, scouts and potential employers all check a potential candidate’s social network accounts to get an idea of their personality.
What if one checked your name and found your nude pics?
Coming of age
Age may be relative to us but in the eyes of the law it is definitive. If the person you’re talking to is under age, or you are under age, there could be trouble ahead. People can get into untold amounts of legal trouble if caught grooming even if they had no idea of the true age of the person they are talking to. While the issue may be resolved eventually, this is a situation no right minded person would want to be involved in.
Unless you know or can verify the age of the person you’re talking to, you are at risk.
We have all done dumb things in the heat of the moment. The saying ‘act in haste, repent at leisure’ has been around for hundreds of years for good reason. Previously, if someone made a mistake, it could be kept quiet or hopefully between those involved. With the internet and social networks, that is no longer true.
If you think you might do something stupid or send a nude pic on Snapchat and feel guilty afterwards, don’t do it. Nobody is worth that.
Is it safe to send nude pics on Snapchat?
I think by now you have figured out that it isn’t safe to send nude pics on Snapchat. I also think that if you are going to do it, you’re going to do it anyway regardless of those risks. If that’s the case, just be sensible about what you post.
- Avoid full face shots if posing nude.
- Hide distinguishing marks such as tattoos.
- Be very selective about who you send them to.
- Build up a level of trust before sharing any personal information.
- If your gut says stop, stop.
Be careful, out there!
Got any other tips for staying safe on Snapchat? Tell us about your experiences below.