Youth feel safe using Snapchat despite security breach (w/video)

The Victoria Advocate

Originally published January 11, 2014 at 10:15 p.m.

Naomi Parker likes to take funny pictures and have brief text conversations with her friends about the images.

An 18-year-old freshman at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Victoria native, Parker is one of 100 million Snapchat users who have made the social media company one of the biggest success stories of 2013.

“The reason I started using it is because it’s like texting, but you have a picture of it,” Parker said.

More than 350 million snaps are sent every day via the popular smartphone app. It allows users to send photos that disappear within 10 seconds after being viewed by the recipient.

Snapchat’s allure of security – the disappearing messages – was breached on New Year’s Eve when a hacker leaked 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers.

In a statement, Snapchat said “no other information, including snaps, were leaked or accessed in these attacks.”

Even before the security breach, many were concerned that young adults were using the app as a way to send inappropriate pictures.

Parker said she still uses Snapchat after the hack.

“I’m not scared of anything I’m saying that’s going to come back and haunt me,” Parker said. “I know what some people use it for, but I’m either taking a stupid picture of myself and writing something funny about it or having a brief conversation.”

While some may use the app as a way to send inappropriate pictures, Parker said parents should trust that their kids are using it for the right reasons.

Hannah Crone, a 22-year-old junior at the University of Houston-Victoria, said people who receive a photo can replay, screenshot and save the picture if they want.

If people are using it for inappropriate pictures, Crone said, “they’re not very smart. Most people just send stupid stuff, so I think everyone is kind of overreacting about all of this.”

Matt McLeod, young adult pastor and basketball coach at Faith Academy, spends most of his time around teens and understands that there are some concerns about the app.

McLeod said he does not think one sweeping decision about the app can be made based on a couple people who use it the wrong way.

“The Internet is a great thing, and I’m very excited to be living in the age of technology,” McLeod said. “But there’s always that chance that your information is going to fall in the wrong hands.”

Travis Johnston, a 19-year-old Texas A&M freshman, said he likes that Snapchat is an easy way to communicate with multiple friends at once.

“You should be careful of what you send,” Johnston said. “Nothing in this world is ever truly erased.”


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