Why Snapchat is deadly.

I hate Snapchat. (plus I also hate selfies but that’s another story)

Don’t get me wrong it can be used responsibly and for fun; but the negatives far outweigh the positives.

Snapchat allows you to send pictures to friends which will be shown to just them for a predetermined amount of time and then supposedly disappear forever. The problem is that it may not disappear forever. You can screenshot the picture (which alerts the sender, but its too late to do anything about it. & there are ways of hacking the app so that no screenshot notification is made) and its been discovered that these pictures can be recovered.

So how is this fun app deadly?

Bullying is done across all social media but Snapchat makes it that much easier. You can send a hateful message, they see it but it disappears before anyone else can see it or save it. So it’s like it never happened, no evidence.

There are cases of attempted suicide from bullying in the UK.:

  • A 12 year-old tried to commit suicide over bullying from Snapchat.
  • A 14 year-old was bullied by others on Snapchat, and tried to commit suicide

Although it is reported that it isn’t used primarily for sexting and the like, it has created the perfect platform for it. You can send a picture to one person, which is shown for a short period of time and then is gone “forever”.

This is the part that is the most dangerous in my opinion. I met a high school student, at work, who claimed to have over 30 nude pictures of different people from her school. This isn’t something that only happens here or there, its happening all around us. There are so many cases of bullying and suicide from this sort of behaviour. All it takes is one compromising picture of someone that is spread to a few other people to light a wild fire. It can even come back years later to create issues, as it did in the Amanda Todd case.

Here are 3 cases of suicides because of social media and pictures.

Thankfully the Government of Canada has become more aware and have launched the ‘stop hating online‘ campaign. Their wesbite is here. There have even been child pornography charges laid to teenagers who have these pictures. This can lead to them being put on the child sex predator list for the rest of their lives. There are severe consequences for the possession and spreading of what is in all actuality child pornography, but they don’t see it like that.

While I think Snapchat is terrible, I acknowledge that there are bigger issues at play. I just think Snapchat is providing a simple platform for the sharing of potentially deadly pictures.

In all your social media and communications just one thing: Be Safe.



  1. Thank you so much for these wise words, simply a pure and powerful post to read. Online anonymity allows people to insult others without having to deal with the consequences – unfortunately, we get used to it. But reality just doesn’t work without consequences. So, young people become shy and don’t dare to freely communicate with others outside the safe online community anymore. I was just writing about this myself.

    I’d like to encourage real-life communication and the exchange of thoughts in a space where just the present is of any meaning. That’s why I’m intending to write a newspaper article about sincere complimenting and its beautiful effects when people actually mean what they say. I try to collect compliments, so if you want to take part – just submit a compliment you recently paid or received by commenting on this post: http://nothingofthekind.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/my-best-compliments/.
    I’d be truly honoured if you would take part in my little project.

  2. A good post, but as you say, the problems are more complex than simply Snapchat. There is definitely a lot more to this than first appears, but I would ask a couple of things:
    Most of the background stories to the people you mention (also research Hannah Smith, Daniel Perry, Megan Meier) are extraordinary. Do you think the media is steering attention away from deeper complexities to avoid real problems, such as teen drink and drugs?
    Do you think it is ridiculous that 13 year olds are being made into child pornographers and criminialised for what is, essentially, childish stupidity? The way it looks, the vast majority of school children are, according to Canadian law, child pornographers.

    1. I think there is truth to the media steering away from more prominent issues like teenage drinking and drug use. The problem with these is that it’s become the norm for teenagers to be drinking and using recreational drugs. There aren’t posters against it, the poster all say be safe, because they know its going to happen. So that in itself sends messages.

      I do agree that it is a bit ridiculous, but something has to be done. I think the charges should be on the spreading of these images rather than mere possession. But it is still important that it is taken seriously, and so if they have to use the law, so be it.

      I do think it is crucial to have more widespread education on the issue. If kids are taught about the seriousness, will they stop? Maybe not, but they will know the consequences of their actions.

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