Hey there! Thanks for joining me this week on Bits N’ Bytes for a social-byte.
In this day & age, most of us are social butterflies. Not just that we have many accounts for different types of social media like Facebook, Instagram, but that we spend a majority of our time either connecting professionally or in the case with kids- with our friend group. After all, the highest percentages of social media users are between the ages of 13-29. This is not even counting those who sign up before they reach 13 (which goes along with the infamous age rule we need to follow!)
Of the social media sites popular among teens and kids now is the infamous, Snapchat! Oh the puppy filters, the countless stickers, and 7-second selfies, galore!…Right? Snapchat attracts a young audience with features like private conversing, sleek, updated filters, and real-time data about where your friends are and with whom. However, there are a lot of pieces of the puzzle we miss about safety and digital “wellness” while being users of this service. The truth is that sending pictures can turn sour, fast. As a result, it is our responsibility to facilitate a responsible digital environment on social media.
As a high-schooler, I can really see the cultural impact Snapchat has made during lunchtime, in communication, and in the togetherness of my friends. Today, I want to share with you some tips and important things to remember about using Snapchat…responsibly.
- Edit your privacy settings so that only friends are able to send your snaps and your stories are only shared with your friends. You can do this by tapping on the right-hand corner of your profile screen and once you’re in settings, change the settings under “Who Can…” and make sure the check is placed on “My Friends.”
- Do you know them in real-life? You can tell much more from knowing someone from school or camp and seeing how they act than how they act online. Be cautious and aware that you have the ability to block people and decline requests to be snap-buddies. The “rules of thumbs” on social media is to 1) follow the age rules of 13, as they are there for practical and maturity measures, and 2)Never talk to people you don’t know in real life on social media. The truth is that for the teenage population, things are easier to say on social media than face-to-face, and we cannot always believe that our “friend” on social media is our “friend” in real-life and looks out for us.
- There have been breaches in the past! In 2013 and 2014, upwards of 4.6 million names, usernames, and numbers were leaked online from the Snapchat app. Also, there have been many hacks with celebrities, involving leaked snaps. Here’s where safe password protection and not providing unnecessary sign-up information comes into play.
- Geotags: We openly give out our location through geotags. If we are on vacation and are not home, we tell the world that we are not going to be guarding the door and keeping a close eye on our homes. We compromise our personal privacy by plastering our location onto an image with our face on it.
- Do not use 3rd Party Apps! What are these? They are apps that look just like Snapchat and have the same features, using your same login, but are NOT MADE BY SNAP INC. This means that they tweak Snapchat, but are the same type of function. Examples are Snap Upload, Casper, Snap Crack, Quick Upload, and Phantom. It is prohibited by Snapchat as they are very dangerous and could potentially leak account information! This is NOT protected and does not have the same security as SNAP INC. builds. If you use one, it is recommended to uninstall the app and change your password. Also, there are apps where Snaps can be recorded by the app and screenshots can be taken without notification of the snapper, as it typically is. However, even in the regular app, we need to snap responsibly, as other devices can take pictures of snapchats even without a 3rd Party App!
- Think Towards the Future: Although Snapchat states in their privacy policies that snaps are not collected for any purpose, court orders and subpoenas can overrule this and allow other forces like the police or institutions to sift through information is need be. It’s important to stay aware of this! And know that vulgar language, shady images to other friends, and cyberbullying does not vanish and will always be a part of your digital footprint. More than 7 seconds, the information is always attached to your digital profile and can be used by higher powers if there is ever a case where the data is needed as evidence. Whether it be in group conversations, if you are uncomfortable, tell parents, a teacher, or someone who can help you manage the situation without escalating the “drama.” Also, colleges and companies say that the first place they look for when a candidate applies is their Facebook profile. The same goes to
Thanks for sticking with me- I hope you learned some helpful insight into Snapping and your social aura. As always, stay safe and inspire those around you to do the same.