A month ago I had no idea what snap chat or snap video was. But thanks to my college students who keep me up on the latest and greatest new IPHONE APPs, I can share my new found knowledge with you. Snap chat and snap video are two applications that can be downloaded though ITunes. It lets the user send a picture or video to one or more people. That's not news, I know, but the interesting feature is it automatically deletes after 5 seconds once it has been opened by the recipient(s).
The whole thing sounded silly to me, so I asked my college students, what was the point. In a rousing unison voice....much easier to sext. Oh of course, now you can send a sexy (read naked) picture or sexy video to your crush de jour and not be worried that he/she will share said sexiness with anyone else. Oh really, I say, except that technology savy kids can always take a picture of the screen from another phone. Also these applications give teens incredible license to say terrible horrible very bad things to people they don't like, are jealous of, or just cause they want to ruin someone's day free from worry that there will be a record of this chat for posterity. Just what our teens need, yet another way to bully, sext or use that impulsive nature of theirs for no good. See, this is why I don't think teens should have smart phones...don't get me started. On the positive side, teens report that they love snap chat and video cause they can make a silly face, say something funny and share it with a friend as if they were right there with them. This may be true, but really, do they need yet another distraction?
So what is a parent to do. Today I have a really good answer to that, thanks to a very tech savy parent who gave me these instructions. If your kid's smartphone is connected to your family phone service here is what you can do"
1. on your teen's phone go to settings
2. go to general
3. go to restrictions
4. you can shut off installing apps.
5. Then make sure that the main account person has the only ITUNE password(that you keep secret) and ability to download apps. Your teen probably has an itune password of their own, you will need to disable that.
6. Now your teen will have to come to you when they want to download an app or music or video and you can "just say no"
7. If your teen has already downloaded, snap chat, snap video, instagram (another app they don't need) you will need to delete apps(on same page when you shut off installing) and start from scratch.
Remember, this phone is yours!!! You have absolute veto power when it comes to what should or should not be on their phone. Allowing your teen to have access to every new app can be hazardous to their health. You have got to keep yourself informed, and I will do my best to keep you informed.
Having a lot of these apps is just asking for trouble. Between apps for facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, snap chat, snap video, they are so busy writing witty or sexy things, and taking pictures, that doing things like homework or having a face to face conversations with a real person has diminished to almost nothing.
If you don't know by now, let me just say that teens do not have good judgement. If a boy asks your daughter for a sexy photo, and she knows that if she sends it on snap chat it will disappear after the boy gets his peep, she will be more inclined to do it, especially if she thinks this kid is the "cutest ever." Because teens don't have to face the humiliation/embarrassment of doing or showing off sexually, they are desensitized to the intimacy of these kinds of interactions, and possible consequences, like the boy thinking that if this girl sends a quick naked picture, that must mean in person, she might do......
Your teens need your help desperately with all this. It is all just too much!
Your conversation with your teen can go like this: "I get how much fun all these apps are, but they are really addictive and take too much of your attention to keep up with. We are letting you have an IPHONE, but we will make sure that what goes on there is safe. If you fight us on this, we will shut off this phone and just get you a regular old fashioned phone with texting. Your choice."