Why You Should Delete SnapChat

I’ve been engaged in various forms of social media since AOL chat rooms in 1994. And I’ve never seen a more dangerous application targeting teenagers, specifically girls, than SnapChat.

The premise of SnapChat is simple. You take a picture, send it to a friend, and they can only see it for up to 10 seconds before it’s deleted.

And that’s where the lie begins.

I want to be blunt. My goal for this post is to motivate you to delete SnapChat from your phone.

Reason #1 – SnapChat is built on a lie

In my book, A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media, I share three rules about social media which lead me to the conclusion that SnapChat isn’t to be trusted:

Rule #1 – Everything posted online is public

I wrote about this in depth here.

The central premise of SnapChat is that what you are sending is private. That’s a lie. There is a very real risk that everything you share with any app or on any website will become public. One day, every image you post online may  become associated with your name. When you post something online you give up the ability to control where that image goes. So even if you aren’t using your real name to post with SnapChat, that “private image” may one day pop up in a Google Search of your name.

The same is true of anywhere you post something online. You always must know that what you are posting could become public.

Rule #2 – There’s no such thing as anonymity online, only perceived anonymity.

Any time your device connects to the internet it associates 100% of your activity with your device. (Every device has a unique identifier, like a finger print. When you buy it and register it that transaction is linked to you and everything you do with it is ultimately pointing back to you.)

Every site, every image you upload/download, every search, every call… everything is associated with that device. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Even if you delete it. Even if you use a proxy server. Even if… E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

The content isn’t always saved, but the activity itself most definitely is.

With SnapChat, the perception that your account is anonymous… meaning it is using a pseudonym [An account name] and not your real name, makes it easy to think that you are disassociating what you send on SnapChat from “the real you.”

Pure and simple. Perceived anonymity is dangerous. And SnapChat uses that to their advantage to get you to trust it. Over time you’ll begin to think that if you’re using a fake name, what you send can’t be tracked back to you.

But that’s not how the internet works at all.

SnapChat knows who you are, where you are, and they store it all. (They are legally bound to.) Even though their marketing copy says they don’t… their terms of service say that they do store it AND they have the right to sell that information as an asset to the company which they can sell. (See Usage Data on their terms of service. Also look at the language in their privacy policy: “We cannot guarantee that deletion always occurs within a particular timeframe.” This is important because when you create an account you are legally agreeing to these terms even though it’s exactly opposite of the marketing.)

Rule #3 There’s no such thing as online privacy, only perceived online privacy

The biggest lie is that the images go away. In fact, because they are transferred between users of the app, that image actually touches several servers between your phone and your friends phone. The image goes from your device, to your phone carriers servers, to SnapChats servers, to your friends phone carriers servers, to their phone. That message is logged all of those places, that image is stored on SnapChats servers, that image is stored on your phone, and that image is stored on your friends phone. (Not to mention a ton of servers and switches who pass that data across the web.)

All the SnapChat app actually does to make it so you see if for just a few seconds is change the name of the file so that you can’t see it. But it’s still there. [Read this article: Forensic Expert Pokes Holes in SnapChat and Facebook]

Bottom line: Perceived privacy is dangerous. It convinces you that something is private, when at it’s very core it isn’t private at all. Combine that with the lie that what you share on SnapChat is anonymous and you’ll see why I think SnapChat is so dangerous, especially for teenagers.

Sidenote: Ironically, a text message is more private than something sent with SnapChat. The FCC guarantees that a text is a private exchange between two devices and it takes a search warrant to access your texts. With SnapChat you are willingly sharing something over a network that is not secure and you are not protected, legally, from them revealing all of your messages down the road. When you agree to the terms of service you agree that all of the data is theirs and they can do with it whatever they want.

I mean, why do you  think the app is free? Because they are collecting data about you and selling it to marketing companies. Duh.

You are the product they are selling!

Reason #2 – SnapChat was created as a safe way to sext

Currently, the creators of SnapChat are busy suing one another about who really created the application in the first place. The case has revealed documents which confirm what everyone has known since the beginning. SnapChat was created as a “safe” sexting app.

Here’s an email about drafting the first press release, included in the court documents. (The app was originally called picaboo)


And this is an exchange between the creator and a person they are asking to promote the app’s release.


The creators refer to themselves as “certified bros” who brag about their fraternity getting kicked off Stanford’s campus. And they refer to women, their target demographic, as “betches.”

Is that how you like to be talked about? If you are a parent, are you excited about your daughter being targeted to send images through a service to “certified bros” who call your daughter a “betch.”

I think not.

The fact is that SnapChat was created as a sexting app. Like a do it yourself version of Girls Gone Wild. You might not use it that way, but that’s what it was created for.

And the fact is that the images are not deleted, according to the terms of service, they can store for whatever purposes they want for as long as they want.

(Read this article about the lawsuit, including more documentation about how the creators talk about women, the app, and their hopes to get very rich selling your usage data.)

Worse yet? SnapChat is funded with venture cap money, lots of it. So the goal of SnapChat is to sell it for a lot of money… including all of the data… meaning you have zero control where your “private” images will one day end up.

Check this little gem out in their privacy policy: “Sharing of information: We may share information about you as follows or as otherwise described in this Privacy Policy: In connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of company assets, financing or acquisition of all or a portion of our business to another company;”

What does that mean? That means your “private pictures” are ultimately for sale. And you’ve given them permission to sell them.

Don’t think that’s a problem? Read the story of Angie Varona, who shared some images at age 14 and is now a face & body used to sell porn and fake Facebook accounts against her will.

“But I use it innocently” “But it’s really fun.”

Lots of not-so-innocent things are used innocently. And lots of innocent things are used for not-so-innocent things.

Yup. That’s true. But I think when you understand that the app is fundamentally built on a lie, one which intentionally deceives you, and when you understand that the original intention of the app– in the words of its creators– was “the best way to sext.”

Do your homework. Investigate for yourself. Then delete it.

My advice? Share pictures over text message or Instagram. (Instagram, part of Facebook, has a much better privacy policy, terms of service, and is not built on the lie of privacy.)

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PG_socialmedia_COVThis is just a snapshot of the things you’ll learn in the book I co-authored with Mark Oestreicher, A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media. If you’re looking to learn principles of healthy social media use, let me encourage you to pick it up today.

I also teach seminars at schools and churches on building healthy social media habits. If you’re interested in having me speak, contact me here.







602 responses to “Why You Should Delete SnapChat”

  1. Jonathan McKee Avatar

    Really well written Adam. Summary:
    1. Tons of students use this app because of the lack of accountability
    2. The creators of the app are a couple of scumbags

    That creates a challenge for those parents who have allowed their responsible older teens to have the app (for those who do use it innocently- like teenage girls who just send each other crazy face shots of each other- I know a ton of teen girls like this).

    We’ve always know the app has no accountability. Interesting to see what those teens and parents do with this new data about the company’s founders. Hmmmmmm.

    1. Dillon Avatar

      Your argument was that the app is downloaded due to the false lie of promised privacy yet you wrote a whole article that is to be perceived as you looking out for people’s best interest but you wrap it with the promotion of your book and future public appearances…. eh tu brute? Sure seems as though you too are feeding on public fear to turn a profit for personal gain.
      Also I really like that there’s a required input of information on your page even though you just talked about how there’s is no such thing as privacy on the Internet.

      1. JuniperGrass Avatar

        I see he hasn’t responded to your comment…

        1. Sandie May Avatar

          I am so happy they gave the information on where to find more books and more places to go to get information on how to keep teens, kids in general safe See it as a plug but I see it as a gift! Thanks Adam, keep in mind those who protest are really only doing so because they use snap chat and enjoy seeing photos that they should never have been privy too in the first place!

          1. adam mclane Avatar

            @sandie – Thanks for that. I’ve been blogging almost 10 years. Some people just think everything should be free. I’m not bothered by the push back. In reality, this post is an application of principles I teach in the book and at my seminars/workshops. So… “if it’s true that there’s no such thing as internet privacy and there’s no such thing as online anonymity, than Snapchat must be built on a lie.”

            When I wrote the book in the spring of 2012 Snapchat wasn’t a big thing. It was brought up to me in the editorial process over the summer but we didn’t include anything about it because there wasn’t any data to back up my thoughts on it. So this post was written in August 2013 when I had some data and it was becoming the #1 thing parents were asking me about.

            If educating people is profiteering then so be it. But I’m no more guilty than a math teacher.

          2. Delinda Avatar

            Sandie, You must be a mother who cares about her children! Yes, this article is a gift to me, as well. As my pre-teen daughter told me recently, I am “so not 21st century” because I was protesting snapchat! My protest was based on logic….why would you want to send and/or view a picture for 10 seconds, only to never see it again?!! Now I know my mother’s intuition was merely God looking out for my children! Thank you, Adam, for this informative article for those of us who still live in the 20th century!

          3. adam mclane Avatar

            @delinda – Thanks for reading the post. I’m so glad you found it helpful. My favorite is the eye-rolling young adult who thinks I don’t know anything. As if somehow being more experienced/educated makes me somehow dumber.

            There have been several really nasty security breaches with Snapchat. That tells you a lot about the quality of the app as well as the types of people who really want to get access to what’s being exchanged.

          4. mats Avatar

            you are a whore

      2. adam mclane Avatar

        You think this post was written for personal gain? That’s quite a leap.

        1. Chandler Avatar

          You forgot one MAJOR point. At least it seems you did; I just skimmed the article; Screenshots. Anything that is sent on Snap can be screenshot and then we all know where it can end up

          1. Rachel Avatar

            Actually you can’t screenshot as you need one finger on the screen to be able to see the picture. I tried it with my sister to see for sure. It’s impossible.

          2. Kelly Avatar

            Rachel – it is possible … I wanted to know if the snap chats my son was receiving could be screen shot and yes… I was able to do so. All it takes is some creative handling of your phone with 2 hands and flexible fingers. It’s scary to say the least.
            Adam – thank you for confirming what I have been suspecting all along.

          3. Luisa O'Halloran Avatar

            I told my daughter about that when she said she sent a boy a picture of her necklace and it had some cleavage in it that she didn’t really want him to see lol… I told her that if he wanted to, he could save that picture and use it against her in the future. Of course she scoffed 😉 then I showed her how to do it, and voila! Saved a snapchat pic that’s supposed to only be available for ten seconds 😉 Be careful out there people! Big brother is always always watching! Use all these apps responsibly and teach your children to do the RIGHT thing. If ya raised them right, they’ll know what’s the RIGHT thing 😉

          4. vankova Avatar

            I’ve screenshot and its very possible. It also notifies the person who sent it when they screen shot it so you know the picture is somewhere else.

          5. NightGod Avatar

            There’s an app called SnapCapture that will save them automagically without any notification to the sender that the pic was saved. It actually came up on my list of recommended apps when I installed SnapChat.

          6. rosemary Avatar

            Actually anyone can screenshot on it my friends and I do it all the time as a joke its not hard you hold the pic with left thumb capture with right thumb and index. As long as you are not stupid with the app its fun and harmless. Even with screenshooting

          7. MsJennifer Friar Avatar

            Yes u can screenshot things sent to u on snapchat..I’ve done it,seen other people do it and if someone screenshots wat u send it tells u

          8. Brittany Segars Avatar

            but my thing is, you have to add users and I assure that my child knows who the user is before adding them so monitoring them can make a big difference.

          9. Jo Avatar

            It wasn’t addressed specifically as you mentioned but the thought should have developed through the article that you’re photos are not “private”.

          10. Tiff Avatar

            It’s not impossible to screenshot it Rachel. Obviously anything is possible if you can find a way around it. And it’s totally easy to take a screenshot. I deleted this App because I’m not going to help two idiots become rich.

          11. b dog Avatar
            b dog

            Exactly. Why should we make them richer?

          12. Lisa L Avatar
            Lisa L

            You can screen shot the screen because a screen shot showed up on my instagram just yesterday. Good point!

          13. Jenn Avatar

            Oh my gosh! I wasn’t really on board until I read this comment. You are absolutely right! One screenshot, and the image lives on forever! Thank you for posting that!

          14. Jason Lee Tasco Riley Avatar

            It is not impossible to snap shot, thus u have 8 fingers two thumbs, I’v done with my wife thank you so you r wrong Rachel.

          15. Q-man Avatar

            The app will tell you if you screenshoted the picture

          16. Jessica Avatar

            Most of us have more than 2 fingers 😛

          17. Jamie Avatar

            Yes, you can “screanShot” ANYTHING!

          18. Nina Avatar

            Exactly!!! Savvy, quick snapchat users can take a screenshot of your “supposed to delete in 10 seconds picture” and it’s available for forwarding to every person on their contact list…..not so secure anymore!!!!

          19. Hope Avatar

            Yes it can and fall in the hands of some sick minded person makes me ill knowing there are sick perverts out there getting off to young kids

          20. kaila Avatar

            actually you can screenshot, all you need is to keep one finger on the picture(one of your thumbs) and then use your other thump and pointer finger to screenshot

        2. Sue Towns Avatar
          Sue Towns

          I have no intention of reading your book as what you say has been fact since the beginning of social media, so too me, it’s just common sense !

          1. Caryn Avatar

            And you just had to reply this why? I’m glad you knew all this already but there are a lot of parents out there that didn’t. I probably won’t read the book either but am greatful for the info I got from this post. And anyway…didn’t your mom ever teach you if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all?

          2. Maureen Avatar

            While it might be “common sense” to you that fact of the matter is that common sense is not all that common anymore. Teen girls these days think that they are untouchable and nothing bad can happen to them. While it may seem like common sense, if he “saves” one person, boy or girl from something popping up later, it is worth it.

          3. Amy Nickerson Avatar
            Amy Nickerson

            As a parent of a tween girl, it is not common sense to them. They live in electronic communication land and give little thought to what information they allow apps to access on their devices. Also, many parents do not realize how technology works. I found this very imformative.

          4. VA Avatar

            Agreed! The same as every social media outlet. This is nothing new…

          5. JJ Avatar

            Tiff, you said anything is possible. Not true. It is impossible to count the number of hairs on your head. And it is impossible to drive correctly while blindfolded correctly. Stop lying, lmao

          6. NightGod Avatar

            Those things are possible. Not practical or likely, but possble…

          7. just saying Avatar
            just saying

            Yes it is common sense. And the problem I see with this text is that it targets SnapChap as if it were the only vicious app, or even the mother of all evils. I have it, I don’t use it, and I won’t delete it, why should I? Why should anyone? Because of the limited premises mentioned? In that case you shouldn’t have a fb, g+, etc. What has to be done is to TEACH every person that on internet there is no privacy or anonymity, once you know that go ahead and use the apps and services you consent.

          8. Lisa Avatar

            You can say that Sue but to many parents it isn’t common sense. Not everyone is social media savvy. Its hard to keep track of all the apps out there. Also the fact that our teens think they know more (some do) about privacy when they have not idea. I’m not pushing the book but the fact that we need to be reminded often to check and to be wise.

          9. Jamie Avatar

            Maureen~ exactly!!!
            I have a very intelligent and “street smart” 16 yr old daughter. And believe me… There is no common sense in to be found when they are on their “devices”.
            Honestly, toughest job on earth these days is being a “tuned-in” parent of a teen girl.
            Message to ALL!—-
            Please don’t just “assume” that your child would never do anything like that…
            Or that your child knows better than to ever do that…
            Cuz, I can tell you one thin for sure.
            THEY WILL!!!

          10. Megan Elizabeth Avatar
            Megan Elizabeth

            Exactly. Look I am a seventeen year old girl. I am not completely immersed in technology. I also know self respect and what is right and wrong. I laugh when people say teenagers are clueless of the effects of technology. Your kids will only know as much as you teach them, and for the love of god, don’t waltz in after thirteen years of shitty parenting and try to teach them. An if your kid is an idiot and sends some nudes or something, grab some popcorn and wait until they fall on their face and learn something.

        3. Crystal Avatar

          I’m deleting the app as we speak. My kids put it on my phone. I never understood it anyways!

        4. Jesse Avatar

          I’m struggling to keep up with the number of comments and have given up on working to see if any of the following questions have already been answered or thoughts been brought up…

          Adam, going straight for the kill on something that you feel is wrong is admirable, but regretfully, I fear that the plan/goal of “dethroning” a juggernaut like snap chat is time better spent elsewhere.

          Even if I’m wrong, as soon as what very well could be an application created with bad/misleading intentions falls by the wayside, no more than the little amount of time it would take for us to forget about SnapChat, another “opportunity for gain” seeker will arise.

          The story about the 14 yr old girl is disturbing. What things are in place to protect our children’s innocence when the risk of unwillingly loosing it is so easily accessible?

          Grown adults should know better. It’s as simple as too good to be true, as it relates to the perception that this ap creates…

          but children!? outside of parents struggling to keep up with monitoring what I would assume is a disturbing amount of usage and communication via phone/internet, what is in place to safeguard our children from allowing anyone access to what they will later regret providing?!

          Are their rules and regs for who can and cannot accept a user agreement? An application that would require parental approval? Is it out there?

          1. Cal Avatar

            Speaking from a teacher’s point of view, even if there was an app that required parental approval, Jesse, kids would find a way around it or the parents wouldn’t care enough about their kids and what they’re doing to verify or not verify it. That’s part of this social media problem. Too many parents don’t know and/or care how the technology works and most kids three or four and up know the basics of the technology we use most often (phones, tablets, computers, etc.). It’s a dangerous combination…

          2. adam mclane Avatar

            I 100% agree. I originally wrote this post by request of several people asking me what I’d say to teenagers about Snapchat. (Or, when I do seminars what I say when asked about Snapchat.) I guess I’m hoping for 2 things out of this post.

            1. That students will learn some things that are always true of social media. In this post I shared a couple “always true things.” There’s no such thing as online privacy, only perceived online privacy. And there’s no such thing as online anonymity, only perceived online anonymity.
            2. I really hope that this post creates enough noise for Snapchat to address the core issues. First, make it clear that the images can be retrieved. Second, develop a way to block/flag illicit images being shared, particularly among underage users. (Child pornography is against the law in every state.)

            So I’m glad it’s educating people. I hope it is creating 1 million conversations. And, if persuaded, I really hope students will pick an app that reflects their character.

        5. Lm Avatar

          Adam great post! And it’s okay to let us know about your book n stuff omg really people up above?!?!?! Don’t be jealous of his talent! Get some. Oh was this anonymous. 😉

          1. fake name Avatar
            fake name

            Nobody’s’ jealous, it takes absolutely no talent whatsoever to see this.

        6. Nope Avatar

          It definitely was.

        7. Dominic Zappala Avatar
          Dominic Zappala

          Why would you spend your time writing it if you didn’t have some sort of motivation? If you really cared about the subject, take our the unnessisary mentions of your book.

          1. Jamie Avatar

            Some of us want to know about his book.
            I can just imagine what kind of “material” you negative people indulge in.
            Good lord.
            Get a clue

        8. Gum ball Avatar
          Gum ball

          I wanted to know if their is any way to stop this because truthfully I am scared! If I delete the app would nothing happen to my past pictures or is their really nothing I could do about it now?

          1. adam mclane Avatar

            Hi Gum Ball – First, there’s no evidence that Snapchat is storing all of your images permanently. The terms of service reserve the right to do that temporarily. But they state that the image itself is only stored on their servers until the snap is viewed and then sometime after that it is deleted. (or overwritten.) What is absolutely being stored permanently is the metadata of each snap. Who sent it to whom, the time stamp, maybe the location, the user ID, probably some level of device ID, the phone number associated with the account, the user name, stuff like that. That behavior is what is valuable to them because they can associate that with what you’ve told them about yourself… your gender, age, location, stuff like that. The metadata is pretty much the same that every social app stores and I don’t think it’s dangerous specifically.

            The bigger principle is to not post or send anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see or a future spouse or anyone. Always assume that anything you post online, under any name, could one day be made public.

            Does that help calm your nerves?

          2. boxer Avatar

            Their are students at colleges who have found a way to find every picture you send. My fiance had her phone looked at and they found every picture she ever sent.

        9. Eri Avatar

          I think another important thing to point out is Screenshots! I’ve never personally used Snapchat but I have taken a lot of screen shots. It seems that even though the app “deletes” the user from accessing the picture longer than 10 seconds the person on the other end could always take a screenshot…. right?

          1. David Avatar

            Screenshots aside, there’s nothing to stop someone from using another phone, tablet or camera to take a picture of the sent image while it’s being displayed, and there will be no notification to the sender. So use it wisely.

        10. Clara Fitzgerald Avatar
          Clara Fitzgerald

          This is quite literally one of the most stupid things I have ever read. “Snapchat was created as a way to facilitate sexting”. Well yes??? No [edited]??? “Snapchat was funded by venture capital!” So is everything else in the world. If you want to live without exposing yourself to something that was funded by venture capital you might as well go live in a cave.
          Plus, you are certainly not on the 16-24 demographics and writing a book with the premise of giving parents an “insider” view of how social media works while having yourself such a condescending opinion of how young people understand these new technologies and use them is one of the most entitled things i have ever seen lol
          This is what happens when middle-age people with a basic understanding of technology try to make sense of a culture that is not theirs after having read the terms and conditions of something and read a couple of wikipedia articles on basic networking/computer science concepts.

          [edited by adam for language]

          1. adam mclane Avatar

            You are welcome to make counterpoints. But attacking my credibility is kind of pointless.

        11. d. burrows Avatar
          d. burrows

          I Adam I agree full heartedly with you about snapchat. Yet I must say that the comments you make are true about any and all social media. Even that which you are using to get your message out. Therefore the simple answer is for parents to start being parents and not allow children to have access to such media. Facebook is just as bad as snapchat as far as privacy goes. Google the same Internet explorer the same. And unless you read the fine print you are lead to believe otherwise.

      3. porque Avatar

        if one must misuse a quote from Shakespeare at least do it correctly, ” Et tu Brute?”. I find your implication a bit on the naive side; this is a blog and a personal website why would he not promote his body of work on it?

        1. Jake Avatar

          Ya I was like why did you say and you brutis from Julius Caesar? But they do have a point even of they miss used the quote

          1. D S Dunlap Avatar
            D S Dunlap

            “Et tu, Brute?” is Classical Latin for, “And you, stupid (Brute being from the Latin brutus, which means “stupid”)?”

            No wonder he stabbed Gaius Iulius Caear.

            😉 Have a happy new year! By the way, common sense is decidedly uncommon, so this article is a good way of warning people. 🙂

          2. silver Avatar

            The best translation is “even you, Brutus?” The other version of his apocryphal last line is “kai su, teknon?”: “even you, my son?”

            As in “I expected other people to turn against me, but we were close, and even you have betrayed me?”

            So the appropriate time to use the phrase “Et tu, Brute?” Is when you feel someone you particularly trusted has joined others in attacking you. Used way out of context in this post.

          3. TS Avatar

            I can’t figure out how to respond properly, but Brute is not “stupid” in this context. It’s the vocative case of Brutus. In Latin, direct address is it’s own case (vocative). For example, when directly addressing someone named Marcus, it would become Marce.

        2. ScubaDog2008 Avatar

          More to the point, the fool didn’t even address the actual issue. The poster just ragged on the author mentioning the book and appearances. It’s interesting how many people don’t like the TRUTH of an issue, so they deflect by addressing something so ignorantly unimportant.

          1. Angi Webster Avatar


          2. Reelmomof4 Avatar

            Good point scubadog, that’s a quality Red Herring if there ever was one.

        3. Shelley Avatar

          Cal, very surprised that as a “teacher”, you would make such a “negative comment” against parents. Personally, I believe there are a “lot” of parents who care and who monitor their kids electronic devices! Most parents do care!! My daughter, who is almost 9 even comes and asks me if she can download a “free game” on her IPod. Yes, of course there are parents that don’t monitor, but I certainly wouldn’t say “most”; very surprising comment from a teacher and very offensive to us parents that do monitor our children & do CARE!!!

          1. Gary Avatar

            Shelley, while I, as a parent, try to monitor my children’s actions, and I am sure you do to, as a school bus driver I can tell you many don’t. It would be great if every parent did, but sadly, as Cal has said, to many have relinquished this task to the government, their childcare institution, or someone else instead of taking the time to do it themselves. It is where we find ourselves in this sociaty of “its not my fault, or its someone else’s job” people, and as such our children, and our country are at risk, even as we look around and say “this can’t be”.

          2. Lena Avatar

            Shelley, I’m a teacher too, a teacher librarian who teaches media literacy in fact. While I commend you on your monitoring of your child’s online activities, I would have to agree with Cal that most parents do NOT monitor as you do. Yes, I’m sure they care, but very few parents take the time (and it is time-consuming) to first educate themselves and then monitor and educate their children about these issues. I can base my knowledge on what I’m told by the 500+ students that I work with. Too many parents rely on the trust that they have in their “good” children. But our wonderful children can be misled and harmed by what they (and we) don’t understand. My own 17 year old daughter was horrified that this app (that she uses so innocently) was meant as a sexting app. So thank you Adam for filling us in on the details of this app. I’ll be sure to share them with my students so that they can make smart choices.

      4. Johanna Avatar

        I have to agree that this article was written more for personal gain than anything else. As a female college student, I have the application and use it on a daily basis. I will admit that I had not previously read the Terms for SnapChat before using it, but upon reading this article I did. Nowhere in the Terms for the app does it say they store the photos. In fact, it says they store information about your usage such as opening a Snap or taking a screenshot of a Snap so that they can notify the user who sent the picture. Aside from even that, it isn’t anonymous. Your phone number is linked to your profile, so anyone that has your number knows who you are through the application. Yes, SnapChat was originally made for “safe” sexting, but I have never met a single person who uses it for that reason at my university of more than 20,000 students. It’s a fun, funny, and easy way to have conversations with your friends. It’s also a free way to communicate with any friends that you may have outside of the United States. There are so many flaws in this article and the only reason to have posted it is for personal gain.

        1. Anon Avatar

          Really? Because at my university of 40,000+, I know people who are definitely using it for naked photos. Certainly not exclusively or even most of the time, but they are. I’m not judging in any way (they’re adults, whatever) but it would certainly be worthwhile for them to understand the risks.

          1. cantfoolme Avatar

            Some people are so blatantly ignorant. I’m glad you set that straight because your knowledge of how people use it is far more on target than the supposed “not a single one.”

          2. Meh Avatar

            Well at my university of 7,000,000+ people it’s used in place of texting and/or for sending funny pictures.

        2. Karen Avatar

          What would be the personal gain?

          1. Just Me Avatar
            Just Me

            @Karen: The promotion of his book.

        3. Abraham Lincoln Avatar
          Abraham Lincoln

          You’ve met all the snap chat usersat your uuniversity and can vouch for every one of them that they have never sent a sext?

          1. ScubaDog2008 Avatar

            AGAIN, back to the POINT: The purpose for the app is absolutely clear. Are you denying that? The way it’s being used, commonly if not MOST commonly, is for SEXTING. And, for under-aged kids this can be a felony. I get tired of people lamely defending the indefensible.

        4. Kate Avatar

          That makes me feel a lot better about using this app! There’s like a billion people who use snapchat, they can’t antagonize every single person! I use snapchat to talk to my cousin across the country and I think its a good way to talk because with normal texting you don’t really feel like your connecting with that person. I like snapchat.

          1. Wendy Avatar


        5. Cricket Avatar

          Wow. You are going to college and you haven’t heard the term “double-speak” or “weasel clause?”
          You can’t understand that the data and usage are assets, which why the app is free. Here is another saying: “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

          1. kIDSTHESEDAYsmh Avatar

            Call it interest.

        6. Me Avatar

          As he said before everything you do online leaves a trail no matter how much you erase/delete/etc. So they may not say they save it, but you can always pull up something that has gone online or over cellular lines. If you read the entire article you would know this, but obviously are only reading the points that you can easily dispute.

          1. b dog Avatar
            b dog

            Yep. Plus I had it for a couple days and I kept getting nasty shit sent to me by people I had no idea who were

          2. WhatsHisFace Avatar

            Things do get erased, but not once you hit delete. Like a picture on a computer. You clear it off, but it’s data is still being used. It gets deleted after something overwrites it’s data.

        7. Cynthia Avatar

          While the site itself may not be saving your photos (and just because they don’t say that they are… doesn’t mean that they aren’t), the PERSON you are snap chatting may be. And, I think the story of the 14 year old with the hacked photos makes it pretty clear that a simple bathing suit or cleavage shot can be altered to look pretty bad, and never really goes away. Also, once linked with your name & a google search, could definitely impact your life in the future (future employers DO google you). But, I’m sure that you know all of that. While college students & others could definitely benefit from this information, I believe that this is more directed toward the parents of younger kids that don’t really understand what Snapchat is. As a parent of elementary aged children, my kids don’t use social media yet, but I think its important to stay on top of the trends. After reading this article, I don’t plan to buy the author’s book or attend her seminars, but WILL forward it to my friends that have older middle school & high school aged kids. Like snapchat, this author has to make a living. If you think that ANYTHING is on the internet for anything less than personal gain, you are mistaken. But, in some cases, like this one, the author is providing free information that can be helpful to some people.

        8. Juanita Avatar

          …and you are in college? Really? ‘Store information’ should have been your clue that NOTHING is private.

        9. Alexandra Avatar

          If you don’t know a single person using this app for “sexting” purposes out of the 20,000 students on your campus, then I apologize but you must be extraordinarily naive or else you must not know too many of those students.

          I think that this was a well-written, informative article. It wasn’t written for personal gain, the author simply mentioned a source for readers to learn more on the subject by stating the title of his full works. Snapchat really is quite a deceiving app,especially when one considers everywhere the data is sent before it even reaches the intended user’s device.

        10. Susie Avatar

          So you know all 20,000 students personally and they have all verified with you directly that they don’t sext with Snapchat? That’s impressive. So I guess it is a total fluke that in the last 2 days my 21 yo daughter has received inappropriate snaps from 2 different people that they definitely don’t want anyone else ever to see. The first was a story message from her 17yo cousin involving alcohol, and as soon as she viewed it, her cousin realized what a mistake she made and instantly messaged my daughter asking her not to tell her family. The second was from a guy she went out with a couple of times in high school, and is now friends almost just acquaintances with. He sent her a naked pic of himself and then realized he sent it to the wrong person, it wasn’t intended for her, and he blamed it on alcohol. Hmmmmmm, I’m sensing a theme…. Don’t be naive. It may seem like common sense to those who use it responsibly, but sadly I would speculate there is a large percentage of folks who don’t. I work in a middle and high school, and it is amazing how much we work with our students in the area of being responsible on social media. It’s sad that we have to. The author did fail to mention one thing regarding these snaps. Regardless of how brief the chat is, if it is nudity etc. it is still illegal for minors to send/receive. It’s child pornography.

      5. agirlconcerned Avatar

        There was no need to him to respond to your post….I say this as just someone passing by this page via FB….I don’t thing he owes you any sort of response because he is a Christian man with a heart to inform parents and children alike about the boundaries and dangers of social media. He invested time and effort into this book, and made it a job (paying) career… He is only making income from those who willingly buy his books, so how is that at all anything like snapchat and other social media forums making profit by sailing private pictures and manipulating people? There are many reasons to be aware of the dangers of us and our children using social media and sharing their personal life’s online. I could google thousands of stories of how social media has damaged a youths life. Online bullying, sexting, and so much more- so how could I really blame a man for offering me information to help prevent this from happening to my children? Mind you, my child is only 11 months old, but who knows what he’ll have available to him by 13-14 yrs of age.

        Also he wasn’t warning us not to enter information online AT ALL, he was saying that our kids should know to be careful what they post- because it’s never really private, it can always be traced back to us. He’s not a paranoid, conspiracy-believer that is saying not to post a single thing online.

        Sorry if this comes off as aggressive, I just get bothered when I read a blog and then see so many rude and just plain unnecessary comments against the blogger. Where is all this hostility coming from? Why aim it at strangers over the internet? Where do you find your value?

        -A girl concerned.

        1. Gabby Avatar

          I missed where he said he was a “christian man” but thank you for assuming. Yes he is trying to make a profit but I see nothing wrong with that. It’s how our society works doesn’t it?

          1. Jeff Hunter Avatar

            Yes we all have to make a living somehow. However some folks don’t like to see others make money. I’ve owned a auto repair business for 25 years and some people expect everything for nothing. They act as though it’s my fault their car tears up. Talk about a hard living.

          2. kh Avatar

            Read the “About Adam” section or “What I Write About.” I’m going to venture to guess that someone with a degree in youth ministry from the Moody Bible Institute who writes about Christian living and church leadership is indeed a Christian.

        2. Tara Avatar


        3. concerned mom Avatar
          concerned mom


        4. kathy Avatar

          thank you!

      6. dlj Avatar

        you are reaching here- this was an insightful blog post. I am grateful for the information.

      7. whatever Avatar

        Get off your computer, little man, and go play with your toys outside. Grow up!

      8. janet Avatar

        Et tu, brute?

        Seriously if you’re going to quote something get the quote right…

      9. Keith Avatar

        It seems to me that you’re trying to poke a hole in the argument against SnapChat by questioning the author’s motives. Aside from being a logical fallacy, that relieves you of the responsibility of actually examining the argument itself. Try to look at the argument and its components. If they don’t hold up, then maybe he’s wrong. Self promotion (while I can see why this is annoying) isn’t a reason to ignore truth and logic.

      10. Me Avatar

        Good ‘ad hominem’ attack, Dillon.

      11. Amanda Avatar

        Your comment is totally irrelevant and ridiculous. It’s HIS blog and, of course, he is going to promote his work at the footer of his blog posts. He isn’t lying about that or masking it as anything other than what it is… a promotion for his work at the end of HIS blog. And if you don’t want to input your information to make a comment, then don’t, no one is forcing you. (You probably should have avoided inputting your information and posting your asinine post anyway.)

      12. Biggy Avatar

        Snap save bro

      13. Ha Blah Avatar

        it’s the american way to feed on public fear, are you new?

      14. Sherri Avatar

        I didn’t have to input my info to read the article… not sure what you’re talking about. AND even if there was no “plug” at the end the facts are still the same… get a clue!

      15. Sierra Avatar

        Anyone with an iPhone can screenshot as long as they have assisted touch on…

      16. Joey Avatar

        Oh my god can you say owned?

      17. Derek Avatar

        It’s a free country. If this is how they want to run their privately held company then they can do whatever they want. SURE you could boycott the app but they already have millions of users sending billions of snaps a day and offers on their company upwards of $1 billion. In case you didn’t know, when a company is worth a billion dollars, your article that maybe 1000 people read isn’t going to make a debt in their numbers.

      18. Doodle Bug Avatar
        Doodle Bug

        et tu btrute*

      19. shakespeare Avatar

        it’s et tu brute… if you’re going to use the phrase at least use it correctly

      20. Leigh Avatar

        This is a common sales tactic. You offer the public a snippet of your book with some helpful basics in it for free. If people like what they read, they buy the book. Those that don’t buy the book have still learnt something (most of the time). So it’s a win\win. Why complain?

      21. Sandie May Avatar

        Dear Adam, promote away, I would much rather have you promoting on how to keep our kids safe than these disgraceful people who think a Betch won’t care or even understand, well I am a Grandmother raising a teen who uses snap chat, but guess what, NOT ANYMORE and if I could I would shut creepers like them down for good Guy’s who are out to make money off the sexting industry are one step away from the sex slave industry cause once some creep finds out where a Betch who posted a pretty little innocent photo of herself to a friend, he could if he wanted to, hunt her down and then what! I’m sorry but arguments against keeping our children safe hold no water no where!

      22. Rico Avatar

        I disagree with the article as well. The terms of service are meant to be read and agreed upon, I realize most people don’t do this but regardless of the app or it’s origins, it does not change legalities or ones’ responsibilities to learn and understand them. The section of the TOS referred to says nothing regarding the collection and sale of actual data bounced between devices and servers. Furthermore, this article is basically pointless since a minor is unable to grant legal consent to a contract given their age and especially the nature of the app. Watch and see if the creators of this app were to sell user photographs they’d be in quite hot water.

      23. Yvonne Smith Angus Avatar

        Profit is one thing; exploitation a very different other. There is nothing wrong to profit from a public service. But to use peoples pictures and private info for profit is fundamentally wrong.

        1. adam mclane Avatar

          Agreed. Good comment and point of clarification.

          1. Natasha W Avatar
            Natasha W

            One question that was not answered is that if one does delete the app, will all the information be deleted as well? If not, then what’s the point of the deletion? It seems to me like it gives a middle finger to two frat boys and nothing else.

          2. tugboatsheryl Avatar

            Another point, I heard many of these same points mentioned at a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) meeting. A local FBI agent named Cyber Mike, came and gave many of these same “lessons” about social media. He wasn’t in the ‘demographic’ age either, but he has taken down many pedophiles who had access to information gained from social media about children. He has trailed them and caught them posing as other 13 and 15 year olds… and setting up times to meet. It isn’t just the storage of information and having something pop up later that is the only problem we face. It’s the stalking of naive children…and young adults.

            So whether warnings come from Adam McLane, or from FBI’s Cyber Agents, the warnings are still the same.

      24. Quentin Cavell Avatar

        or there might be more he wants to say/he’s trying to make an honest living selling his work, which has to be advertised

      25. Laura Avatar

        Amen. Honestly, who uses an app and actually expects privacy? It’s 2014 people know by now nothing is private.

      26. Asha Avatar

        How is what you are saying relevant to the content of this HUGE eye opening article? SO WHAT if he promotes his own stuff? It doesn’t automatically mean his warnings are still not as important as they are.

      27. Andi Jarvis Avatar

        Dillon, take a bow. The best comment on this thread by a country mile.

      28. R. Scott White Avatar

        That, and the little pro-Instagram thing near the end….

    2. Brianna Peoples Avatar

      Look I’m a teen that uses it, the ones that take nudes and stuff don’t care if they did they wouldn’t take those pictures. I’m one off the teens that doesn’t do nudes or show any of my parts cause I care. And I honestly know that not many teen care anymore

      1. Andrew K (@Andrew_Kr) Avatar

        Brianna, people may not care now, but one day they will wish that they had. I think that this article is a good one – worth heeding.

      2. Ha Blah Avatar

        And remember, anything and everything you put on there could be used later in life. So if you plan on going into politics I would suggest deleting ANY social media app along with photo sharing apps like this. People may not care now but they’ll be the first to try and sue someone 10 years down the road when they get denied a job because of something they posted on the net (whether an app or actual internet)

    3. Hannah B Avatar
      Hannah B

      Thanks for the info!! I have officially deleted my snapchat… Thank gosh someone is nice enough to look out for others.

      1. adam mclane Avatar

        Happy to help. And you’re the first royalty to leave a comment on my blog. Congrats on the title. 🙂

        1. Anna Gilley Avatar
          Anna Gilley

          You say text messages are safer yet in order to update Facebook you have to allow them access to your text messages. Can’t update it without the consent.

          1. Ha Blah Avatar

            No you don’t. I have latest build and never asked me for permission to access my texts. Maybe if you have the facebook messenger app which you should’ve known off the bat that one was a bad idea…

        2. b dog Avatar
          b dog

          Im very glad someone besides me is informing people about the bad side of snapchat. They were hacked and pis were posted all over online. They dont just disappear. They have to go SOMEWHERE. I had it for two days and had all sorts of nasty things from nasty people I didnt know. I have told everybody I can the bad side to snapchat because all anybody wants to hear is that people can only view them so long then they are gone. NOT THE TRUTH. I have a cousin that works for a company with a similar app and she said not to use anything like it because they can legally aell anything they receive because the content is going through them. FACT

    4. STEVEN Avatar

      UR GAY

    5. Elisabeth Avatar

      This is fake sorry

    6. Ben Avatar

      wtf man why do you know a ton of teen girls

    7. Taylor Gadda Avatar

      I love this argument about how this whole article is written for the author to instill fear in order to get others to read his book. Obviously, he wrote the book to let parents know about using social media, apps, etc because he’s genuinely concerned. Else he would not write a book. It’s highly unlikely he wrote the book just for profit. So why would he write an article for the same reason? The book is just an extension of what he is discussing. If he did not promote it at the end, since most parents reading would probably like to find out more information, it would be illogical. Have just a little bit of faith. I love when people turn things around on others who try to reach out. Maybe have some personal grudges holding you back, eh Dillon? I find this article really enlightening and, even though I don’t use snapchat regularly, I will be sure to let friends know about this article.

    8. Boo from Nintendo Avatar
      Boo from Nintendo

      I’m pretty sure UDID’s can’t be collected anymore with iOS7 so in not sure what you’re talking about with this ‘e.v.e.. ‘Argh I can’t be bothered typing that but yeah don’t think you’re correct

    9. Joh Avatar

      Snapchat has also been used as a tool to bully, so sad

    10. Don Juan De Marco Avatar
      Don Juan De Marco

      Yes, you see, it may not be common sense, but it IS common decency. If you raise your child right, guess what? They aren’t going to send naked, or even slightly inappropriate, pictures across the internet. Most decent children won’t even consider taking a naked picture that has no risk getting ON the internet! Teenagers aren’t stupid; they spend more time on the internet than you could possibly imagine. They know EXACTLY where their picture could end up; if they have any common decency these teenagers wouldn’t think of sending the pictures. Those who send them don’t think their pictures floating around the internet is a big deal. That is the ACTUAL problem that should be targeted. By the by, I’m a teenager, so this information comes straight from the source of the most common victims.

      1. adam mclane Avatar

        Good comment, thanks for taking the time.

    11. Nikki harrell Avatar

      You’re in control of what pictures you decide to send. If you’re going to send inappropriate pictures then there’s always a risk you take. I use the app and I haven’t sent any pictures I wouldn’t be afraid people to see (including the ones where I’m purposely trying to look unattractive because those are the kind I usually send). It all comes down to what you decide to send. So no, don’t delete the app, just don’t send pictures you wouldn’t want your parents to see. You have the control. Do whatcha want friends.

  2. Tim Avatar

    I feel like the article misses the point (and is flat out wrong on some things). Yes, the idea behind SnapChat is “safe” sexting, however (1) understanding that “nothing is truly private when it is sent out into the world” combined with (2) “sexting is a bad, bad idea” are things that need to be understood independent of SnapChat.

    Texting is not safer, in fact, it is far, far worse when it comes to the continual availability of shared content. Except for the single fact that one isn’t lead to believe their interactions are private with texting, text apps save all the interactions (some even after you’ve cleared them out of the app).

    Finally, it’s laughable to think that Facebook provides better privacy or that a warrant is required for getting information shared through other means. This isn’t true. A supreme court ruling in the 1970’s made collecting the information of which phone numbers you call free for others to collect warrant-less-ly. Today, that ruling is used as the basis for collecting all “meta-data” of a person, including everything shared on social media and even the GPS location of your phone as you go about your day.

    For an article that is aiming to educate people, I feel that these details are overwhelmingly misleading as presented in the post.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      I’m not sure what you see as misleading.

      Yes, someone can receive a text message and forward it on. And that’s a legit danger. But the carrier can’t take and sell the content, which is my point… SnapChat reserves that right specifically in their TOS/Privacy Policy. (as quoted)

      I absolutely agree with your point about collecting data. But the reality is that SnapChat, Facebook, and the others are under no obligation to disclose that to users. If you think about it the whole point of all social networks is to continually provide data that they can sell to marketers… and if you enjoy that process and get a benefit from it… all the better for everyone.

      As far as recommending Facebook/Instagram over SnapChat, that’s based simply on the fact that they are open about their intended usage. They aren’t marketing that data is private or will be deleted. In fact, what I like about Facebook is that you are supposed to use your real name. Before FB was open to the public you actually had to request access via a registered university.

      So, while we may disagree on the finer points of this or that, just to be clear… you think SnapChat is completely innocent?

      1. Nick Jones (@thatnickjones) Avatar

        Adam, we live in a world today where we have to assume that the government can track any form of communication used over a phone, computer, or any mobile device.

        I fear the government much more than I do people “reserving my right to sell my content.” You’re a smart guy. When you don’t pay for something on the internet you can’t expect a company to be responsible with your personal data. You just can’t.

        For instance, I see you are using a self-hosted WordPress site. If you used a site they would sell your personal content because the service was free. You would lovingly create content and they would be rewarded. It’s business.

        1. WideAwake Avatar

          Thank you! I saw somewhere that you need a warrant to review texts messages?! False! People need to get up to date with the times. These are times of zero 4th amendment rights whatsoever when it comes to any form of technology. Anyone heard of the NSA? Wake up folks!

          1. adam mclane Avatar

            Again, anything you post online is public. And a text message is protected. There’s a big difference between the NSA having access to who you text and a company having the same access. One is accountable to the courts while the other is pretty much the Wild West.

          2. Matt Avatar

            The NSA is effectively accountable to no one, and if you believe they are, you are naïve.

          3. Doesitmatter Avatar

            Just an FYI, all the amendments are only in reference to the government. No one or nothing else.

      2. THYARTISMURDER Avatar

        Adam… Sir Marketers DO NOT recieve this information BECAUSE for no reason does it belong to them or for any reason do they need it. Snapchat may sell your pictures ETC BUT by Deleting your account you are no longer bound to any contract Services or terms of service. Therefore giving you FULL right to Sew them for Blackmailing you (Because that it what it would be at that point) And don’t fucking tell us with your BS that you can’t delete your account because you can (Tho you must hack snapchat for it {NO PROBLEM}) and i end my rant with “Adam, your claim is invalid. As far as the marketing part goes

        1. Tink Avatar

          How do you sew a blackmailer? Do you think they make a large enough sewing machine?

    2. Jon Brown Avatar


    3. James Avatar

      perhaps i was lied to, but verizon told me i couldn’t retrieve any text messages without a warrant, and i was the owner of the contract!

      1. Meg G. Avatar
        Meg G.

        I sell litigation support services to attorneys & can tell you definitively that everyday – cell phones, tablets, (electronic devices as a whole), etc are produced to opposing counsel for data collection & restoration of deleted files/documents/texts/images/video/audio…anything contained on the targeted device. The company I work for is expert @ restoring deleted data & can tell if or when/how data was copied & removed from a device. Cell phone collections are btwn $550-$750 (iPhones are more time consuming – so are $750) & are frequently presented as evidence in divorce cases, white collar crime, Intellectual Property cases, etc. I had 2 cases last week which involved cell phone forensics. This industry is called e-Discovery.

        1. kathy Avatar

          True, true, true! I have a fam. member who does the same work. You even have to enter your Email address HERE to post a reply! Everything is stored and directly linked back to you.

    4. sindyhukill Avatar

      The article stated a warrant is needed in order to retrieve your text messages. That is completely factual. Only with an Order of the Court can your phone provider pull up your text messages and print them off and hand them over. Locating your device when you have the GPS turned on does not require a Court Order. Two entirely different topics. One is a matter of personal privacy the second of safety.

  3. leneita Avatar

    Adam- Thanks for this. I just read an in depth article about the “Snapchat Lawsuit” last week. I know several girls who use Snapchat. I think a bigger question for us parents is, “Are we holding our teens accountable in the age of social media?” My kids have both contracts they sign for phones and electronics and get randomly “searched” once a week looking at phone activity. No we are not stalking- or trying to be overprotective- we are genuinely helping them navigate a world where it’s easy to make wrong choices all the time- on things that have nothing to do with social media. This check once saved my JH son from an embarrassing misstep in sending a Meme he didn’t really understand. He has never questioned the accountability since that time- but thanks us. This is good for us to know. For stupid face pictures there are texts- and isn’t every Instagram of someone that age a Selfie of some kind anyway 🙂

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Absolutely. That’s why this post is a bit out of character for me. In the book, we most definitely teach healthy behaviors over just plain do’s and don’t. But in the case of SnapChat… it’s really built to ensare, so it deserves the warning in my opinion.

    2. Barb Avatar

      Well said, Leneita!

  4. Patty Avatar

    Girls are sexting boys. Why then do you specifically think this is a danger to girls? Another example of making girls gatekeepers (and scapegoats) of chastity while exempting boys from any responsibility.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Fair point. I said “especially girls.” You can see in the screenshots that it’s clear the creators were targeting college women.

      I’m in favor of everyone deleting the app. And I’ve most definitely witnessed the horrible behavior of boys demanding girls send them pictures. It’s disgusting, really.

    2. Cowboy Avatar

      Patty, the unfortunate truth of the matter is society views girls different than boys. Girls are not being used as scapegoats and I work hard to teach my SON that HE is the gatekeeper of a girl’s chastity! Besides the simple fact that most girl’s are more vulnerable than boys and easier to deceive. I didn’t see anywhere in this information that the author is pointing fingers at girls as having the only responsibility here.

      1. VeronicaThePajamaThief Avatar

        WRONG!! A girl… not your son or anyone else’s son… is responsible for her own chastity. No male is the ‘gatekeeper’ of a female, in any regard. Have you looked at a calendar lately? This is the 21st, not the 12th, century.

        Typical male… trying to impose a man’s control over a woman.

        1. brian Avatar

          He means that he is teaching his son to honor and protect the chastity of the girls in his life with his behavior. Perhaps you think he should teach him the opposite?

          1. VeronicaThePajamaThief Avatar

            Then he should be more clear in what he says, because what he said sounds like he advocates his son exercising control over another.

            My point however is this… everyone is responsible for their own actions. No one should rely on the ‘good behavior’ of another to ‘protect’ them.

            We are each our own ‘gatekeeper’.

        2. A Man Avatar
          A Man

          You realize you are responding to a woman’s post? Not Adam’s?

        3. Caryn Avatar

          Oh gag me! You took his post out of context. He was saying he is trying to teach his son to protect and respect a woman’s chastity! And as the mother of 5 girls I appreciate that.

          1. Kamila Avatar

            And mentioning that the internet is not safe, why should we trust Instagram or Facebook for putting up pictures. They could be exposed as well later on. It is easier for people to get a hold of this information as well

          2. isabel Avatar

            And as a mother of two teenage boys I couldn’t agree more. I teach my sons that ALL young women are Daughters of God (whether all young women believe it or not) and that it is my boys’ responsibility to protect and respect the virtue of all women.

      2. VeronicaThePajamaThief Avatar

        “… most girl’s are more vulnerable than boys and easier to deceive….”

        I have news for you, Cowboy… most girls would be offended by that remark, which reads like a thinly-veiled, not to mention condescending, ‘dig’ at women… that they let their emotions control their actions.

        1. adam mclane Avatar

          Lets all just agree that the exploitation of any child is not a good thing. 🙂

          1. VeronicaThePajamaThief Avatar

            You are right, of course, Adam. My apologies to you and Cowboy. I need to ‘rein in’ my feminist side from time to time.

        2. Katy Perry Avatar
          Katy Perry

          Shut up already, get over it.

          1. Emma chandler Avatar

            Yea shutup all a u’s snapchats perfectly fine I use it all the time

        3. Dave Avatar

          Of course they do, as you have just done. Men and women are not equal and never have been. One sex is not better than the other just different, we were all made that way.

      3. Anon Avatar

        No, you are the gatekeeper of your own “chastity”, male or female. If you expect girls to be chaste you better also expect your son to be chaste.

        Girls are easier to deceive? Wow. No, we live in a society that sexualizes women, so girls learn early that sex can be a currency. It’s not that girls are automatically more naive or stupid.

    3. Jess Avatar

      Typically, I’d agree. Except the internet is a vast and disgusting place. 14 year old girls do this behavior in a trusting manner and get burned by it. Immature 14 year old boys are cruel and can post said pictures of 14 year old girls on (or similar website). That’s an extreme, but relevant example. Never mind, forgive the buzzword, cyberbullying. The pictures are easier to spread like wildfire through a middle school. Talk about kids shaming their own selves at a sensitive age, regardless of how we try to teach them about a healthy attitude towards sex—middle school is cruel.

  5. Charles Waldo Avatar
    Charles Waldo

    Odds are if they are saving these photos they might have more then a few saved photos with underage nudity, why doesn’t anyone just charge them with possession of child pornography?

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      A valid point. If you know of anyone in possession of child pornography, please report them to the local police department.

      1. Tim Avatar

        I’m a foster parent in the state of PA and have been through a few classes on teens and social media/sexting dangers. Not sure about other states, but in PA, if a minor has an underage nude photo on their phone or devices, EVEN IF IT IS OF THEMSELF AND THEY NEVER SEND IT TO ANYONE, it is still considered child pornography and they can be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

        1. adam mclane Avatar

          I’m against the exploitation of all people. I think you share something important, in all 50 states taking, sharing, or looking at child pornography is a serious felony. So while some can argue that this is innocent fun, there are serious consequences to consider.

    2. Wendy Avatar

      I understand there are teens in NC who have been charged after a girl sent nude pictures which were then circulated through-out the football team. Other teens in NJ may face charges as well. However, it doesn’t appear that it’s gotten a lot of media attention, making it less effective as an example to other teens/parents.

  6. Shawn Avatar

    Excellent post, Adam, that I’m sharing with our students and parents. Thanks so much for the honesty about this app.

  7. The Kid Avatar
    The Kid

    Forget about linking up by name, old pictures will come up from facial recognition software, currently in use. Imagine you potential employee googling your name, and all those “anonymous” pictures show up in the search results.

  8. debbie Avatar

    Excellent article.

  9. Jamie Avatar

    I agree with this article- but another social media site that is just as dangerous is which is linked to many instagram accounts. SImilar in nature to the now- not – so -populat Formspring- it is a service that allows you to ask questions to anyone0 however, there is no registration reguired. Imagine the freedom to say anything to anyone with no accountability? Thanks!

    1. Tracy Avatar

      I just found out last week about when a girl in our school, entering the 9th grade, tried to take her own life after being bullied relentlessly via this site, and of course, no idea who it is because it’s “anonymous”.

  10. aRt oF dErP (@r0bz0rz) Avatar

    I’m sorry but the whole thing is laughable. Theres this thing on your computer called a power button. If you don’t like what people are saying to you then don’t use it. It’s pretty simple. Yet some people are still blaming for the bullying. If you willingly keep subjecting yourself to abuse then get upset about it, then maybe you are better off geting out of the genepool.

    1. Dana D Avatar
      Dana D

      That’s just a silly comment, “…getting out of the gene pool.” People smoke yet know the risks and smoke anyway. That’s human nature. Young people consistently subject themselves to unhealthy situations thinking it will be better the next time. So, should we delete them all from the genepool? smh

      1. Greg Krauss Avatar
        Greg Krauss

        Agree wholeheartedly that the original comment was foolish Dana. It is this kind of ignorance that continues these dangerous habits. This is extreme but you then could argue that girls who are taken advantage of deserve it because they made the choice to go to a party.

        Give your head a shake Art

        1. Sharon Avatar

          Even if someone decides they don’t want to engage in askfm any longer, it’s my understanding that anyone can see what’s posted. Sticking your own head in the sand doesn’t stop those anonymous people from making comments ABOUT you that everyone else can see.

      2. smh Avatar


    2. Jerry Bolt Avatar

      Don’t know how to respond without sounding harsh so please forgive me in advance…

      Clearly you have not had a child, or someone close to you who does, that was bullied and/or attempted suicide. If you had, then you would not have responded the way you did.

      That is all I will say about that.

      1. Checkered Demon Avatar
        Checkered Demon

        GMAFB – being bullied is a fact of life. Almost everyone has been bullied at some point in their life. If you can’t deal with it, tough. Welcome to the pussification of America, where every child is a miracle and everyone is a winner. You now get a trophy for just showing up at the soccer game, some accomplishment that is…

    3. Victoria Newman Avatar
      Victoria Newman

      Staying off the internet is impossible. School stuff is posted online, and those who stay home are expected to use the internet to keep up with homework.
      Staying off social media, while not impossible, is difficult because everybody always wants to know everything said about them. After they see it, of course, they wish they hadn’t, but they have to know because what if someone said something good? No message ever comes with a red flag “this is a horrible message,” because the sender wants the message to be read. Still, I know if a Facebook comment came with warnings of bullying, I know I would still read it because maybe the message criticizes something I can improve on, or I can conjure a witty comeback.
      In a way, I think the submitting oneself to such pain is human nature — as a child I would put my toes under a table leg when bored, now I would rather hear all someone has to say about me than speak up, if I happened to hear people gossiping about me.
      I am afraid your comment of “getting out of the gene pool” takes on meaning beyond your realization, because many cyber-bullied teens are doing just that… taking themselves out, permanently.

    4. Cowboy Avatar

      aRt you truly don’t understand the mind and heart of a teenager do you? Better off getting out of the genepool??? Advocating suicide? What a deplorable POS you are.

      1. adam mclane Avatar

        @cowboy – I appreciate all comments and opinions. There’s no need to call anyone names. Even if I disagree with someone’s point of view, as long as it’s on topic I’m fine with it.

        I’d love it if you pushed back on what you mean by understanding the heart & mind of a teenager. That’s truly my heart, to create understanding.

        1. Psychophanically Avatar

          I just want to say, I really enjoy what you’re doing. Making it a goal to warn parents and children alike about social media is a great thing. It’s honestly surprising how many people will just use the internet and social apps as a means of destruction. I don’t understand how anyone can find joy from either bullying or deceiving. It doesn’t make sense that people can be so reckless, cruel, and abusive. Somehow people find power in their own words when they’re protected by a screen and use that power in bad ways.

          So thank you for making this blog. Something always held me back from downloading this app and now I know why.

    5. Kysma Avatar

      Your talking about children here. Do you remember being one? Have any? I suppose you’d be the “my child wouldn’t do that” type parent from your comment. Not presuming to know you, it’s just a perception based on your post, but we live in a world now where children still have the minds of children but who’s hormones are growing like weeds. There is more prepubescent puberty today than you’d believe. My 10 yr old daughter very much has the mind, education, and thoughts of your average 10 yr old girl. But she has also been developing breasts, pubic hair, underarm hair, and hormonal mood swings since last yr she doesn’t understand and shouldn’t have to at 10. But there is our world today, making online bullying extremely dangerous and has ended in suicide more than once. When someone hurts a child of that age or any teenage kid, they have an extremely hard time letting it go because they are finding themselves and have a NEED to be accepted by their peers and society. It’s plain psychology my friend. They lack the will power to press that power button off because that need and the need to KNOW what their saying next. This leads into an obsession. This is where we as parents come in to teach our children how to handle bullying AND more importantly, the impact of doing it. I hope you are if you do have children. Because they don’t learn that “I don’t care what people think” attitude until they learn from us self love and tolerance of ignorance without their hormones going insane. Hence that self assured self usually, on average, doesn’t come in until between 20 and 30 yrs of age. Keep your eyes open my friend. And no offenses intended. 🙂

    6. Psychophanically Avatar

      The majority of people using are teenagers. Yes, it would be logical to just delete the app if you didn’t like what was going on. However, in the world today, there really is no escaping from bullying and cyber bullying alike. To a teenager, receiving a rude, hostile or down right creepy message from is just another person in their life who’s throwing their opinion at them. When bullying has become a regular part of their daily life, deleting an app doesn’t lessen the pain they receive on a regular basis from school to home(in few cases).

      Being bullied and not knowing what to do about it, especially as a teenager, is never a laughable situation. I, myself, am sixteen years old and I have gone through bullying in my life – over social media sites, at specific gathering, and being the one doing the bullying – so I’m speaking from experience.

      No one ever willingly subjects themselves to that level of physical and mental pain. Sometimes it’s hard to get away from and it get overwhelming. If you’re getting attacked from multiple directions how can you tell where the source is and cut it out? The bottom line on that subject is that social media sites are used for bad intentions by everyone; the users and the creators, and more often than not you can’t get away from it. And it’s not as simple as ‘jumping out of the genepool’.

    7. Don Juan De Marco Avatar
      Don Juan De Marco

      Thank you! I appreciate that. “Cyber-bullying” being regarded as a serious problem.. People need to grow up and face the facts. People are going to say mean things to you- you have to learn to stay strong. Not kill yourself and hope for pity.

  11. Dawn Avatar

    People can also take a screenshot of the picture. Plus now they have figured out how to do it so it does show on the senders end that they have.

  12. Nathan Christensen Avatar
    Nathan Christensen

    After reading the article, I see, in all honesty, nothing overly shocking. As far as the company reserving the right to sell your info, there is a difference between reserving the right and actually selling it. If the company is being bought, then yes, your info will technically be sold to the company that buys snapchat. And as for being a way to sext, so what? Texting is as well, just like email, and snail mail. There is a point where you have to trust your kids (and the way you as parents raised them) and let them be. Maybe they end up sexting. That’s their own boat they got themselves into. But maybe they won’t. I use it to see snapshots of my friend’s lives while we are all off at different colleges. Just because something is created with bad intentions doesn’t mean that’s the only use for it. In all honesty, if something is going to happen, it will happen one way or another. I say: trust in your parenting and trust your kids. Let them keep the app. Kids are smarter than you think.

    1. Cc Avatar

      Even if you would not be bothered if your kid chose to use the app to “sext”, do you care about the creators of the app and maybe other employees seeing those pics and storing them? You know the see the pics, due to the verbiage in the email stating that they’ve “seen a lot of crazy stuff.”

  13. Brooke McGlothlin (@BrookeWrites) Avatar

    Adam, I run a site for mothers of boys called The MOB Society. I’d be interested in taking a look at your book to see if it would be a good fit to share with our community of over 22k. Send me an email?

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      I responded to you… let me know how I can help you resource parents. 🙂

    2. Pacific Think Tees - Heidi Anderson Avatar

      I think this article would be a great addition to your page, Brooke. I also posted it on my own facebook page. I have a 6 year old daughter and a 4 year old son. While most of us think we’re “raising them right”, as we’ve seen, even good kids make bad choices. It’s terrifying to think a misjudgment like this could haunt a child for years. Thank you for the work you do!

  14. ScottTinman (@ScottTinman) Avatar

    Thanks for the article Adam! So many Social Media apps coming that you need to stay on top of it…another one that I don’t allow is KiK…basically a “hook-up app” in my opinion. As far as trust your kids comment above…they are kids…Middle School & High School kids need guidance and can’t be a blanket statement…meaning are there kids that can use this app responsibly? probably…but are there kids that will use this and cause them to go down a bad road of choices..probably…so need protect our kids the best way we know how. Question is can we live without SnapChat and still stay connected to people…I believe so

    1. Nathan Christensen Avatar
      Nathan Christensen

      Yes, it may lead to bad things. But I feel that, as a parent, it is your duty to guide them without absolutely restricting them. Saying “Snapchat is forbidden” may work for some kids, but as they move from middle school to high school, they start to think for themselves. Things happen. As a parent, you can inform your children of the dangers of things, but they often need to work it out for themselves, and oftentimes that means finding something out the hard way. That doesn’t mean you didn’t protect your child the best you could. It means your child is starting to really come into their own as an individual. At that point in their life, the type of protection that I feel like most people are doing or that this article suggests is not only going to be seen by the son or daughter as being overbearing, but often pushes them to inquire more about it from all the wrong places. Instead of deleting Snapchat, use it as an opportunity to talk with your high schooler about it, present your way of thought, and be open to them having a different opinion. While I agree that middle schoolers may not be able to handle the peer pressure, there are those who will. It is a case by case basis. But from a kids perspective, you may have the best intentions in the world, they just won’t see it that way.

      And could we live in a world without Snapchat? Yes. we have before, and soon will again when the in thing changes. But, we could easily live in a world without a lot of things. The fact of the matter is, we live in a world with Snapchat. There is no use pondering the “what if”. Instead, use it as a positive parenting tool.

      1. adam mclane Avatar

        @nathan – The irony of this post for my normal readers is that I’m the opposite of an alarmist when it comes to social media. Heck, I’m an enabler! (Here’s more stuff on social media, this post is a defacto an appendix to my book/seminar:

        The points I’m drawing out in this post are two-fold.
        1. You should delete SnapChat because the very premise is built on a lie that things you post online go away.
        2. You should delete SnapChat because the creators intent was to create a “safe way to sext” and then targeted at young women and teenage girls. I’m 100% against the sexual exploitation of girls.

        So, while I agree with you on principle that it’s far better to teach our kids how to use social media in a healthy way, and that’s what my book/seminar is all about… there are still things out there which a reasonable parent can say, “Yeah, that’s not happening in my house.” Some things are just unhealthy and you shouldn’t allow them.

        Make sense? (It’s OK to disagree.. I’m not some didactic prophet speaking down from on high. I’m just a dad and a dude who has spent his lifetime investing in the lives of teenagers.

        1. Nathan Christensen Avatar
          Nathan Christensen

          That makes sense. Just so you know, this is the perspective of an 18 year old going into his first year of college, so I understand the parental point of view, but I felt like the youth should be able to jump in. I agree that its not right for the company to lie, and that sexual exploitation is not ok, weather it be girl or boy. And I am greatful that you blew the whistle on point number one. However, a lot of high schoolers know that it was intended for sexting. I mean, a limited number of seconds to see a picture that is then “deleted”…sounds like a sexting app to me. If this was to inform parents, then I understand. But to many kids, its nothing new. This then brings up a few interesting points. 1.) Should parents say “not in my house” based off of these points? And 2.) Given the target audience, if Snapchat kept all of the pictures, then wouldn’t they be a child porn database and shouldn’t they be investigated? My view is that 1.) I don’t think that point number one is enough to say no snapchat. Yes, it sucks you were lied to, but it happens. For those that downloaded the app for sexting thinking that they did not save pictures, yes its bad, but its a risk they chose to take. Bring point number two in, and that is where it becomes case by case. If you are the type of parent to say no because of intent, I respect that. Personally, I would encourage my child to be a beacon of light in a dark app (but then again, I’m 18. I’ve had no kids, so maybe I’d be doing the parenting thing wrong). I wholly respect a parent’s right to say “no, not in my house”. My parents did that. My only caution to parents is: be wise about how you say it and implement it, because word it wrong or enforce it a certain way, and it may have the adverse effect. Then again, it may not. Like I said, case by case. Another thing to keep in mind is that youth and teens take “not in my house” literally. We can constantly find loopholes. While your child may not snap, their friend might. Please be aware of that, and know that we as teens actually appreciate when you sit us down and say ” We have decided to not allow snapchat because of X, Y, and Z. We understand this may be difficult for you to accept, or may be asking why Z is one of the reasons, so we welcome any questions you have.” It makes us feel like you respect us as people, and can lead to some great conversation, faith based or not.

          1. Nathan Christensen Avatar
            Nathan Christensen

            As for 2.) I’m not going to pretend to be knowledgeable about that sort of thing. To me, it seems like too big of a risk, both personally and for the company, to save pictures. But I haven’t looked into that part of the article enough to fairly comment. It’s just something to think about.

          2. adam mclane Avatar

            I appreciate your comments and I’m glad you get it. Have fun in your first year of college!

        2. Jane H. Hursh Avatar
          Jane H. Hursh

          Thanks for your thoughtful approach to all of it. The fact that kids’ brains are not fully developed before the age of 25 ought to clue us in to how much they still need direction, boundaries and unconditional love, no matter how ‘well I raised them’.

  15. ishinerocks Avatar

    Thank you for this info. I just deleted my snapchat and wont use it again

  16. Ellen Avatar

    So you don’t use anything built on a “lie”. Hard to believe. I’m getting the feeling you are Christian. That isn’t built on a lie?

    1. muzjik Avatar

      No, it’s not.

      Do you actually have anything to say about the specifics of the article?

    2. smh Avatar

      It’s not about damn religion..pull your head out of your A@$

  17. Nick Jones (@thatnickjones) Avatar

    As a follower of Christ and a citizen of a fallen world, I totally understand your premise. I’m a college freshman. I’m not oblivious to the things that can and do happen on Snapchat. I use the service everyday as a way of fun communication. As with anything in our fallen world, it can be used for evil. I use the internet every single day with self control and great vigilance. We all know there are immoral things all over the web… But I don’t delete my web browser on every computer I own.

    I also understand that young girls are a major risk and parents should make it known the risks about using various forms of social media.

    Please don’t classify every user of Snapchat as a “sexter” or something like that. Sure it goes on, but it can be used responsibly.

    1. Jim Seagriff Avatar
      Jim Seagriff

      Nick, I am very heartbroken by your comment. The value of any “free” app comes from number of users. Closing your eyes to the fact that using an app that exploits people, especially women, is what actually makes it profitable/salable is the worldly thing to do, not the Christian thing. Buying clothes that you KNOW are made with slave labor is not ok just because you did not enslave those who did the work. If no one uses the app, then the app goes away.

  18. KJAcree Avatar

    GREAT article. There is also an app called Snap Save that lets the user record or screen shot someone else’s Snap without them knowing it. That is one of the features my teen thought was offering her some privacy until we discovered this. Just FYI. I remind my teens of these principles at least weekly and appreciate the reinforcement.

  19. […] Why You Should Delete SnapChat by Adam McClane […]

  20. Tara Avatar

    Thank you for this very informative article and the comments- I appreciate KJAcree taking about the other app too. As a Children’s Minister this article is a helpful tool I can share with parents!

  21. Jacob Lierz Avatar

    Screenshot completely negates the function of this app.

  22. Ken R Avatar
    Ken R

    as always, great stuff Adam!

  23. Phil Avatar

    Deleting this app shouldn’t be a necessity when it comes to kids (teens). I’m still trying to figure out why having a smart phone is a necessity for a kid. I’m going to use the old addage of ‘we didn’t have smart phones and made out just fine’. For some reason parents have bought into the trend of their children getting smart phones, much less cell phones. My observation is the ‘entitled generation’ of kids now have lazy parents who feel its much easier to go along with the Jones’ than display strong parenting traits. I’m constantly hearing how its convenient and now they always can reach their kids. My parents always knew where I was and I always know where my child is. By allowing your children to have access to these phones, you are encouraging them to participate in this disturbing new culture of social media. Peer pressure has always been existant…now it is taken to a new level. The answer to all of this is to stop giving your kids these phones. If you are going to kick and scream and say your kid has to have a phone in case X,Y or Z happens, then get them one of those emergency style phones. Ones that do not connect to the internet, have apps, cameras, etc. Not only would that solve a lot of these problems, but it will cost you a whole lot let and guess what, you won’t have a kid staring at their phone insesistantly all the time. Stop wasting your breath about how to stop these bad apps and stuff like that…do yourself a favor and be a parent for once. Don’t get your kid a phone.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Phil, I respect your opinion. So thanks for taking the time to comment. While I do know that parents often don’t know what they are doing when they buy their child a smartphone, I am not pretending like they won’t.

      My hope isn’t to talk anyone out of their smartphone. Instead, I focus my efforts on helping teenagers & parents develop healthy social media habits. That’s why in the piece I build a case for why I think SnapChat just isn’t even worth using at all. But I’m very much about teaching people how to engage in social media… because the simple reality is that we can’t hide, it’s not going away. In fact, its fundamentally changed the way people interact around the world. I’d rather have parents preparing for the challenges technology brings to their role as parents than simply hiding and pretending it’ll all go away.

      So, that’s my polite pushback to your comment. You are right… we don’t “need” it. But that doesn’t mean millions of teenagers won’t have them.

      1. Jude the dude Avatar
        Jude the dude

        Hi Adam. Interesting article. A couple issues I have are:
        1. Premise built on a lie:
        If we consider the story of how Facebook was created (watch the movie) we find Mark Z to be of dubious moral character. Using a product based on a “lie” vs a product made by someone of about the same moral aptitude I find to be a moot point.

        2. With the companion apps for screenshotting and recording I believe the understanding of anonymity is gone.

        On the the flipside, snapchat does make it almost too easy to send and receive garbage (at least for someone with a different contact list than myself…). I’d say this whole issue boils down to parenting.

    2. pbhf98 Avatar

      FINALLY! Thank you for your comment Phil! All I can say is that I agree with you 100%! I have two children and there is NO way I will provide them with a cell phone. In my opinion, if you are not old enough to sign a contract and pay for it, you shouldn’t have it! In the meantime, I will educate them about the benefits as well as the dangers of cell phone use, apps, and internet use just like I do with everything else. As far as their friends coming over who have a cell phone, iPod, or any other device that has internet access and picture capabilities, they have to leave their device on my kitchen counter and I let their parents know it as well. Anyone who thinks that I am overbearing or controlling, that is your issue.

    3. melissaray2013 Avatar

      I understand your point about a smart phone. But my daughter uses “snap chat” on the ipad given to her by her school. A device she must use to complete her school work. You can not avoid all portable devices which allow children instant access to the internet. I have never liked snap chat, but I could not put my finger on why, therefore I have told my children to be very careful on it. Now, I have some intelligent reasons to put to my children when I end it’s use. And yes, Nathan, I am going to do the sit down chat where I give them a rule, not just a suggestion. If they find a way around it, then there will be a consequence.

  24. Phil Avatar

    No worries Adam. I appreciate your response. You are right in the fact there are millions with phones. I was just going more towards the root cause, haha! Honestly, I couldn’t imagine being a kid nowadays. There is no longer such a thing as down time or private time anymore as the majority seem to be connected to some form of technology that facilitates social media at all times. Parents who do have kids definitely should be showing the consequences of social media and supportive apps like these. Keep up what you are doing…I’m just being the grumpy old man, even though I’m not either!

  25. Carrie Avatar

    Also note that most phones these days can take a “screen shot.” So during those few seconds that someone is looking at your snap, they can take a screenshot and forever have it saved on their phone.

  26. Amanda Avatar

    I was a teenage in the mid 90s. We didn’t have cellphones or internet (I think my HS got internet during my SR year in 97, the same year we got AOL dialup at home). I had friends who, if they had smart phones back then, would have sent suggestive pictures to the boys. Not having these devices didn’t stop them. They just showed their boobs in person. If a girl wants to show her stuff she’s going to do it. How bout we focus on teaching our boys to value girls for more than their physical characteristics…and teach our girls to value brains and hard work over snagging a man with her goods.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      I don’t disagree with you at all. The single most influential person in every teenage guys life is his parents. This post is reaching parents of both male & females and leading to really fantastic conversations. I’m not out attacking all social media, my point is that this particular app was built by young men who refer to young women in a disgraceful manner… and who use lots of cute marketing copy to get people to trust an application that fundamentally is not what it says it is.

      Can you join me in that?

      1. The [Radiant Orchid] (@th_purpl_lady) Avatar

        I appreciate this comment. Thank you for taking time to reply to so many of the comments, both irrational and honest. And for the record, I don’t think there is anything wrong with referencing your own book when writing another article.

        1. adam mclane Avatar

          Thanks. Most people understand that in the adult world when you offer a service that others find valuable, you get paid for that. I’m totally OK with those who either don’t understand that because they aren’t out on their own with bills and a family or they just disagree philosophically.

  27. bill Avatar

    Let’s get real: there is no way, no how, to ‘protect’ oneself from Big Brother. Also, let’s stop being so self centered as to think anyone really cares about your risque self shot as a teen. Since these things are so ubiquitous, it will become a moot point with the millions of images out there. At one time, places would not hire a woman who was discovered to be divorced. Not far from now, employers won’t give a crap about some youthful indiscretions…that’s the way the world is going. The real reason not to post naked pictures of yourself has more to do with personal integrity and self respect than it does youthful stupidity.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      @bill – please watch the video in the post (on ABC News.) Ask yourself… is that type of exploitation OK? Was that girl not harmed?

      Or is she just being sensitive?

      I know I don’t want my daughter to experience the pain that so many are experiencing because of an app built with the intention to deceive. And honestly, as a male I’ll never know what it’s like to be exploiting in that way simply because of my gender.

      Trust me, I get your bigger point. And I work hard to teach parents & teenager healthy social media engagement. But the point of this post is that SnapChat is built as a trap, set to ensare it’s target audience.

  28. Mandy Avatar

    Just as an aside, people can capture snap chat images easily using a smartphone and the screen capture function. Even a 1 second image.

  29. David Hanson Avatar

    Great post! I have sent it on to both my students and their parents! I think the biggest problem is “perceived anonymity.” It just opens a can of worms that doesn’t need to be opened. Blessings!

  30. Lori Goodman Avatar
    Lori Goodman

    Adam, I think you are operating under some false assumptions. I have been using Snapchat and I know someone who works there.

    “Reason #1 – SnapChat [sic] is built on a lie”
    The author makes appropriate claims that nothing on the internet ever truly disappears. This is a paramount point to make with kids and teens. They don’t have the decision-making capacity to have a sense of what can be a problem for them currently or later. As a parent, it’s absolutely imperative to have regular conversations about privacy and communication. However, blaming Snapchat is misplaced. Snapchat says very clearly on its website that images can be caught (by screenshots) and images can be recovered forensically. You’re misguided and misinformed if you think you can send something illegal, immoral, or embarrassing and that it will never be found. The author had great points about posting anything electronically; those are messages everyone—kids, adults, even Anthony Weiner—needs to hear. They are not specifically for Snapchat. There’s nothing about Snapchat that causes a user to send something that they would never want public. In my experience using Snapchat, the communication is intended to be silly, irreverent and ephemeral. So let’s say you want to draw a silly mustache on a friend’s face or a caption over a teacher’s head or even a picture of yourself drinking a beer. Those things *could* be recovered. But they’re not just sitting out there for anyone to find. Someone would have to work very hard to recover that data and why would they want to? If your teen is snapping with someone who is screenshotting and posting those snaps without permission, that’s a bad person to snap with, text with, or be in relationship with. The conversation should be about your child, their friends, and trust, not blaming an application.

    “Reason #2 – SnapChat [sic] was created as a safe way to sext”
    I do think that the app was conceived in response to Anthony Weiner. However, it has clearly gone way beyond that, including in Snapchat’s website and regular use. As an aside, if my own child were going to be sexting, I’d rather he or she use Snapchat than a phone or Facebook—and I’m well aware of kids who have used Facebook or their phone to sext with bad consequences. If you sext with someone who is going to save and post your pictures, you’re screwed no matter what. If you sext with someone you trust on Snapchat and they don’t screen shot, they can’t screw you six months later when you have a bad breakup. Sure, a computer forensics expert could mine that data from a phone, but that’s unlikely to happen. Kids will sext. (I know, if you have an innocent 12 year old, that’s hard to believe.) Have an open conversation about sex, body image, modesty—but don’t blame an application.

    The author makes a variety of claims about what Snapchat is doing with the data they have. I don’t know where he is getting his information, or if he is attributing a level of sophistication to the app that isn’t currently there. As far as I know, they have not yet figured out how to “monetize” and they say they are far from that. Venture Capital is interested in Snapchat because it’s popular and attracts lots of users. Every app you buy or download has your data. We live in a digital world. If you don’t want companies to know about you—either in general or in particular—don’t use a credit card, don’t have a computer, don’t use a cell phone. Go live on a farm. It’s ridiculous to blame one company, application, whatever for what our world has become. Globalization and the digital age is here. Any technology can be used for nefarious ends. It’s our job as parents and as good citizens to harness the positive aspects and to be educated about the risks.

    Finally, the author makes some claims about the quality of character of the Snapchat founders. My skin crawled reading those texts. Yuck! I’m all for shopping my values. I don’t spend money at companies where management denies health coverage to their employees or where the company funds political or social causes that are abhorrent to me. If the immaturity and sexism displayed in the creation of this app are abhorrent to you and that’s a reason not to use it, that’s fine by me. However, I know that many young college age men can be sexist, immature, and inappropriate—particularly in what they think is private communication. Clearly they would have been well-served to use Snapchat in their initial conversations! I’m not convinced that this speaks to the quality of their characters overall. I use Facebook. If you watched The Social Network, you might think Mark Zuckerberg is a scum. But he’s also created something innovative and wonderful that I enjoy using, and he has begun thinking philanthropically. Steve Jobs was apparently a bear to work for. Nevertheless, I enjoy my iPhone. I think the criticism is good when you’re speaking with your teen about who you would want to be your friend. But it is probably not relevant to who designed the app you enjoy.

    We all need to be wise consumers. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong about Snapchat, but there’s lots to be concerned about in the world. It’s human behavior and ethics we need to be teaching our kids. Hitting delete won’t solve the problem.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      @lori – Thanks for your comment. The comment itself makes some good counter- points, I’m totally fine with pushback. The point of this post is to educate and get people to think. (And, I’m shameless about asking people to delete the app and use something with a more transparent TOS/privacy policy.)

      I do have 2 quick questions.
      1. You start your comment by saying that you have friends that work for SnapChat… but you don’t disclose any relationship. Are you friends with someone there or do you work there and/pr represent them somehow?
      2. The syntax of your comment threw me off a bit. The first paragraph is written in the first person, you address me. But the rest of the comment I’m referred to as “the author” and the whole comment just feels like it’s not to me, but about me between two other parties because “you” becomes a 3rd person, impersonal character! Can you clear that up? I’m not judging you if that’s just how you write. But I’ve just been a blogger for a long time and never seen a comment written quite that way.


      1. Lori Avatar

        Adam, a friend shared your blog with me and asked me for a response she could share. I wrote something up, responding to, ” the author.” Later, I cut and pasted it into your blog and realized I should be addressing you, but failed to edit the entire thing. I got sloppy at the end of the day. My son is an intern at Snapchat this summer. He’s their first intern, and a Stanford student. He didn’t know the founders socially or at school. I do have a sense of their office culture, and it doesn’t seem to be very frat-y. It seems very engineer -y. I just used Snapchat to take a video of my husband scratching our pet cockatiel. I sent it to my family and a few friends. It would be boring and unnecessary to share that for all eternity, but very fun to share the moment with a handful of individuals I selected. I hope that clears things up.

      2. el cora Avatar
        el cora

        Adam, Sorry I couldn’t figure out how to leave a real comment so I’m replying instead. I’m curious what your suggestion is for people who may have already used snapchat for sexting and are now nervous upon hearing this information? Thank you!!

  31. Terry Avatar

    I like the article. There are far too many things and fine print in this world that you can sign up for and find out the reality of them later.
    People often don’t realize there are ways of finding out so much of anything you have ever said or pics saved on the internet with very little effort. It’s not that hard.

  32. Paul Avatar

    Shared. Thanks for the research.

  33. adam mclane Avatar

    Totally does, thanks. I can certainly understand your points and appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  34. […] Why You Should Delete SnapChat :: If you have SnapChat on your phone, this is definitely worth reading. […]

  35. Caitlyn Rogers Avatar
    Caitlyn Rogers

    If you don’t do anything stupid with snapchat then you wouldn’t mind your picture on the Internet….

    1. VeronicaThePajamaThief Avatar

      Missing the point, Caitlyn.

    2. travelsonic Avatar

      So…. if I send a funny, not-stupid image I intend to be between two people, irrespective of the lack of privacy on the internet, the fact that I am not doing something stupid instantly means I should be OK with it not remaining between us? That is … a horrendous leap in logic.

      1. adam mclane Avatar

        Can you please explain what you’re saying again. There’s a lot of prepositional phrase + run on sentence in there, friend.

  36. Gollum Avatar

    Lol, ok
    1) In order to leave a reply, this site asks for twitter, facebook, or an email address. “Address never made public”….yeah, BULL. You can google the name, the email, the website, almost anything and find info on the person, where they live, what they do for a living, etc. In other words, it’s called being “scroogled” or “bing-banged”. Yeah. I went there.
    2) It says IN THE CONTRACT THAT YOU THE USER “signed” that you AGREE to the TERMS and SERVICES of the app. Meaning that you WILLINGLY surrender your information, your location, your name, email/physical address, cell phone number to the company and/or its affiliates. This not only means that they can use your info as part of their marketing statistics but they can also use it to advertise their product. You sign it, you willingly give your info away.
    3) Sexting? Really? Like many others have commented on, POINT MISSED. By a mile. Not everyone that uses Snapchat is using it to show off their badonkadonk or their rack. Plus, if you suspect YOUR child is sexting, it’s NOT the company to blame. I blame the PARENTS. Because who gave them access to the mobile device? Who gave them the credit card information to purchase the app? Who let them use the app? Who didn’t instill a positive body image? Who didn’t appropriately teach them about internet safety and honoring one’s body because it’s a temple?

    So, in other words: Put up or shut up. You don’t like what’s going on? Delete the app. You don’t like what your son or daughter is doing or how their acting? YOU BE THE PARENT and FIX IT. You want to know what’s the real lie? That it takes a friggen village to raise a child. Get off your lazy butt and be the parent that’s an active participant, in both listening, doing, and loving.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      @gollum- I welcome your comment, but I don’t allow comments without a valid email address. Come back and leave a real address, not mailto:Gollum@my.precious.ring, or I’ll just assume your comment is trolling for something. Thanks.

    2. A.L. Avatar

      While I 100% agree with your entire comment, I would like to point out one thing: The Simply Unaware. New apps enter the market every day. I, personally, didn’t know this app even existed until I spent time at another family’s house, and their 13 year old triplets were entertaining us by snapping pics of us adults using this app. Jeez, I am not expected to stay abreast of all techie advances each week of my entire life, am I?? Really liking the idea, that if I can’t monitor such things, then perhaps my child shouldn’t have their own smartphone. That’s all I wanted to say.

      1. adam mclane Avatar

        Thanks for the comment. Snapchat isn’t new or something small, it’s a biggie. I don’t think any parent is expected to know them all… but you should have a good idea what your younger teens are doing. Then allow them to earn your trust over time. (I think of their phones just like I think of borrowing the family car. If you earn my trust, you get more of it.)

  37. VeronicaThePajamaThief Avatar

    Adam… I would love to post the PDF of your column on my blogs. I have Blogger, LiveJournal and WordPress blogs. I didn’t see a ‘reblog’ button, so I wanted to check and make sure I had your permission to ‘reprint’ as it were, your post. Thank you,

    Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
    Twittter @thepajamathief

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Yep. Just make sure link back to me as the source of the post, ok? The best way to do it would be to grab the first paragraph or so and say, read the rest here… And link. Thanks for asking!

      1. VeronicaThePajamaThief Avatar

        Cool! Thank you! And thanks for deleting my ‘misposted’ comment. 🙂

  38. VeronicaThePajamaThief Avatar

    Let me know if this is okay or if you had something else in mind… I’m not the most techie person in the world; I’d rather spend my time writing. 🙂

  39. Hashtag Hashtag Avatar

    My father demanded that I take this app off my phone, and I never understood why. We both know that I would never send a pornographic image to anyone, regardless of whether it’d be deleted after 10 seconds or not. I used it to take silly selfies. I thought it was fine. Out of respect for my dad, I did as he said–while under his roof.
    Recently, I moved out, and decided to redownload it, as I am entering my freshman year of college, and I figured I could make the decision on my own.
    After reading this, I’m so glad my father put his foot down. I’m deleting it, now. I don’t care what I would have used it for. I don’t wish to support creeps who talk about women that way. The fact that they can save the photos you send is frightening.

  40. Josh Avatar

    I’ll correct you on one point, Instagram has 0 Privacy as by the new EUL Agreement in first quarter 2013 they own the rights to all photos posted thru it. To quote you, “Do your homework. Investigate for yourself. Then delete it.”

    1. VeronicaThePajamaThief Avatar

      Speaking of homework, Josh… Instagram has changed their position and no longer claim ownership of photos you post to Instagram. Copyright remains firmly with the creator of the image.

      Instagram does NOT own all rights to an image.

      1. adam mclane Avatar

        There’s a technicality here I’d like to clarify:
        You’re correct that none of the social media sites that I’m aware of claim a copyright of anything you post. But they do own the usage data. (So, who posted it, who viewed it, who liked it, etc.) Now, Snapchat claims they don’t store all of the images and I don’t have any way to know that they do or don’t. But in the email quoted in this post they certainly claim that they see some images transmitted with the app & their terms of service make it clear that they don’t necessarily delete them immediately. I know there have been multiple questions of Snapchat, legally speaking, about both the storage of images and the cooperation with law enforcement about images shared which may violate various laws. Here’s a little snippet of one:

        1. Emma Avatar

          The fact that SnapChat claims to have seen a lot of crazy stuff doesn’t necessarily mean that they have seen anything that you send to other people using the app. As a teen who uses the app, I’d just like to point out that SnapChat gives you the option to send things directly to TeamSnapChat. That’s how they communicate to the users about new features in the app. And right frm the beginning, TeamSnapChat is in your “contact list.” I know a lot of people who have sent a few silly snaps to TeamSnapChat. This could be what they’re referring to when they say they’ve seen crazy things. People can and do send images directly to SnapChat.

  41. Terry Avatar

    You also need to realize that the internet isn’t always reality. Some people are not who they say they are-you may be thinking they are a teenage girl just like you or a teenage boy and they turn out to be a creep way older. Then you have already shared what you look like(maybe too much & maybe you’ve even developed feelings)-possibly where you live.This spells trouble-could be a man or a woman-or worse-sex traficking setup.

  42. Frank Avatar

    Parents have an obligation to protect their children at all times. Prevent your children from anything you feel inappropriate and ignore what society tells you is right or wrong. All that matters is that you protect them in every way possible, teach them good values and when they become adults they will err on the side of making good choices.

  43. Olivia Anne Avatar
    Olivia Anne

    You are being constantly mined for your data. Using applications like these (and, yes, Instagram, too) makes you a commodity. Privacy is important and should be protected.

    The issue I have with this article is that it uses the “everything on the internet is public” argument, and then only applies it to Snapchat. Then, goes even further to advocate for texting, Facebook, and Instagram.

    Nothing on the internet is safe or private. There will always be a backend to the sites or applications that you are using and there will always be a developer with access to your information. The point is not – “does this site have access to my information?” It’s not a question. If you are using an application or website, they HAVE your information. All of it. The question is, do you trust them not to use it? (To be clear, the answer to that question should be no, however our society is so social media-dependent that it is extremely difficult to put to practice. Even right now, WordPress is gathering my email, my name, and every character that I type. That’s only the visible information. They are also getting my IP address, location, and implanting a cookie into my web browser to gather further data on me.)

    If you are going to take this stance as a reason to stop using Snapchat, be wholehearted and apply it to the rest of your social networks as well.

    Especially, do not advertise texting as the safe alternative. Your phone number is tied to your name and much easier to track back to you, than an IP address which takes a little bit more research. (Just in the name of convenience only; neither of these are out of the scope of anyone who wants to maliciously or otherwise use your data.) Even further, did you not hear about the recent Verizon scandal? Phone companies are not to be trusted any further than the developers of a phone app.

    I would also be very interested to learn your credentials when it comes to cyber security.


    (Sexting is an entirely different discussion and whether or not to use Snapchat has nothing to do with it. It can be just as easily accomplished over text messaging. Talk to your kids and tell them how dangerous and criminal it is. Yes, it is criminal. It’s child pornography, regardless of the age of the person in possession of the photos. Minors can be convicted as well.)

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      @olivia – For the sake of brevity, I focused the post on Snapchat. (And my stated goal for the post is pretty clear in the title) I agree with you that this expands to all social media specifically and the internet in general. I linked to this post for that reason:

      In regards to why I’m writing about Snapchat and then encouraging people to use Facebook/Instagram instead. Snapchat intentionally uses perceived private usage while Facebook/Instagram are much, are built around the idea that things aren’t exclusive between 2 people. As we see in the emails between creators… when you think it’s just you and your friends you talk much differently than if you know something is public. I think its much more healthy to engage everything online with the understanding that it “could” become public. That’s where Snapchat is dangerous.

  44. Aubra Avatar

    Adam, thank you for writing this. I’ve worked in college ministry for the last three years, and I have to say that Snapchat is the most damaging social media app I’ve seen.

    It’s worth mentioning that deleting the app from your phone doesn’t delete your actual Snapchat account. In order to do that, you need to visit, and then enter your username and password. It’s very easy, and that removes you completely. Just a thought!

  45. Matthew Avatar

    I’ll give you $100 when every Snapchat snap gets released on some website somewhere… I’m serious, you’re gonna have my email… And if you think Facebook private messages or Twitter DM’s are safe… lol. I’m curious to know if your kids have Facebook or Twitter or Insta… Or what social media you use yourself.

    1. VeronicaThePajamaThief Avatar

      You completely miss the point, Matthew… but judging from this thread, you aren’t the only one.

      Facebook, Twitter, et al are very upfront with their members as to any expectation of privacy and use of material posted on their sites.

      SnapChat goes out of its way to convince users that their photos are private… they intentionally push the perception that a ‘snap’ is between two people only.

      SnapChat is the shadiest of all used car salesmen, intentionally misleading and outright lying to its customers… and they do it all with a straight face. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at least have the decency to give a ‘wink and a nudge’ when they hand you the keys.

  46. Louise Avatar

    Not sure if it has been mentioned but my daughter just ‘screenshots’ her friends’ pictures they send to her through Snapchat and uses them again later when reminding them of crazy things they’ve done, stupid faces they’ve made, etc. While it may be “innocent” as Adam references in reasons why teenagers may use the app, the shared image that many think has ‘disappeared’ actually hasn’t and their friends still have it saved most of the time on their phones. After reading this, my daughter will NO LONGER Snapchat. Thanks for educating me further … Instagram is just fine for sharing pics.

  47. Matthew Avatar

    “Experience a unique way to share life with friends.
    Snap a photo or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend (or maybe a few). They’ll view it, laugh, and then the snap disappears from the screen – unless your friend takes a screenshot!” — this is taken directly from the App Store details of Snapchat, a 12+ app.

    Snapchat is intended for use by people who are 13 years of age or older, and persons under the age of 13 are prohibited from creating Snapchat accounts. We do, however, offer a limited-functionality version of Snapchat, called “SnapKidz,” for children under the age of 13. SnapKidz includes the familiar interface for taking snaps, captioning, drawing, and saving snaps locally on the device, but does not support sending or receiving snaps or adding friends and, since the experience is local to the user’s device, no Snapchat account is created.” — this is taken from the Snapchat website.

    And I’m not going go copy and paste this whole pdf but read it…

  48. Shelly Conlon Avatar
    Shelly Conlon

    And there is now an app that kids are downloading that automatically saves the Snapchat…no screen shotting required.

  49. earthsound Avatar

    There are secure messaging apps out there that encrypt data from end-to-end and don’t leave anything behind, forensically speaking, if you need that type of service: wicker, TextSecure, etc. I would not say they are for sexting-type purposes, but instead are for those who are rightfully privacy minded.

    Having said that, I wouldn’t recommend SMS/MMS or facebook/instagram as private means of sharing content. Anyone who is hosting your content can see it and can be forced to share it (even if their ToS currently limits the type and amount of sharing they do); see National Security Letters, Prism, etc. When using instagram, for example, “you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service.” That boilerplate legalese isn’t conducive to privacy.

  50. White Hat Avatar
    White Hat

    I find this guys perception of the Internet laughable. Each device has a unique identifier. Really just call it what it is an IP Address and even that can be negated with both proxies and spoofing an IP. The article was had good views on the dangers of sharing on snapchat; however, then he pretends to know how the internet works because he did some reading on the Internet. This article would have been better if he wouldn’t tried to tell people there is no Anonymity online and how the Internet works because obviously this guy does not have a clue.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Hey Caleb, sorry this post wasn’t for you. That’s totally fine.

  51. Aimee Nicole Avatar

    I don’t care what anyone says. Adam, you’re right. You obviously have done your research, you know what’s up. Snapchat was created for all the wrong reasons, but that still won’t stop people from using it. I personally don’t use it because I don’t have a smartphone. And after reading this, I would never want to use it.

  52. […] Why You Should Delete SnapChat  ( […]

  53. Matthew Avatar

    What if some scientist created the cure for cancer because he wanted to be rich and famous not because he wanted to help people, would you still get treated if you had cancer?

  54. scotttheamazing Avatar

    The whole privacy argument is a weak one. I’m not too worried about the NSA or whoever getting a hold of a bunch of blurry pictures of my face looking stupid with a drawn on pirate hat. So while i understand the point, that goes back to the whole patriot act argument which isn’t as black and white as you’re making it.

    The creators argument is also weak. If that’s how we gauged everything we wouldnt be a part of most major banks, law firms, and TONS of businesses founded by dirtbags who want to take advantage of consumers. Thats just business. Thats like not listening to Michael Jackson because you dont like his personal life. While you are free to do so, you are stupid for doing so.

    Just because the app was created for one thing doesn’t mean that its used for that reason by people. The internet houses Pornography which is horrible but just because its a part of it doesn’t mean you shouldnt use it. While I agree that a lot of people use snapchat probably for illicit means, its probably not the kind of people reading educated commentary on why they shouldn’t. So to say “well it was created for sexting, therefore you shouldn’t use it” while is partially true, also is gleaming over the fact that it was also created for other reasons. Its another medium for communicating with people that’s somewhere between texting and chatting them.

    I don’t love SnapChat, but I think its fine if you use it just like any other form of social media communication. So while I appreciate you not wanting people to sext, which i fully back, the message should be that – don’t sext..not don’t use an app that can be used for lots of things, one of those things being sexting,

    Unfortunately this article sounds too much like all the many other articles which point out that Facebook makes people depressed, or lonely or whatever argument suits their needs…when in reality its just a clothing for the underlying problem which isn’t social medias fault, its peoples.


  55. millisr1m Avatar

    Switches don’t store data, so no, snapchats are not stored on switches.

  56. Beth Avatar

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention screenshots! Your “friends” can save your snapchats which to me might be the scariest danger of them all!

    1. Faith Avatar

      It shows up if someone takes a screenshot of your picture.

      1. NightGod Avatar

        Check into an app called Snapcapture. Can save pics and no notification….

  57. troubled Avatar

    Wow, the rancor on this article is absolutely horrible. The extent of insults and tearing apart of the conclusion of this article is almost unbelievable. the comments, at least the first 20% are useless. No wonder our children are the way they are if this is the example of their parents or older people in their lives.

  58. John Avatar

    To the guy above me… This is the Internet, that’s what happens here.

  59. Jeff Avatar

    An article with some more privacy information concerning SnapChat

  60. Sandy Avatar

    To me, it’s very simple. Does this app have more potential to *help* or to *harm* my children? I’d say it has zero potential to help; their lives will not be lacking if they don’t use it. There is infinite potential for harm on many fronts. Easy decision. Thanks for the heads-up, Adam.

  61. Scott Avatar

    I don’t think you should tell people that text messages are more private than other online posts or that access to them is protected by some government agency. If you use a smartphone to send text messages then they may not be sent as true SMS text messages. For example, if you use the iPhone Messages app to send a “text message” to another iPhone user it will be sent “app to app” and not as an SMS text. Your otherwise very good article gives people the false perception that all text messages are somehow protected.

    Your main point that anything sent electronically or online has the potential to be seen by everyone is correct. If you post something online or send an email or a text message you should write it as if your parents or spouse or “the man” might someday see it.

  62. […] you have SnapChat on your phone? Does your child? Read this post. […]

  63. Riley Avatar

    Or, you know, you could teach your children to act responsibly with social media, instead of fear mongering and sheltering them. This is so idiotic. This post assumes that every girl is going to send nudes over snap chat. Not everyone is an idiot, my friend. Besides, anyone who knows anything will know that if you send nudes, you don’t include your face. Not that difficult. You want people to delete snap chat, because other people could be irresponsible with it and get nude pictures leaked? Foolish.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      You are invited to read other things I’ve written on social media to know I’m not an alarmist.

      The points of the post build a relatively simple case for my recommendation to delete Snapchat.

      1. It’s built on the lie of anonymity.
      2. It’s built on the lie privacy.
      3. It’s clear from the creators own words that the intention of the app was for sexting & they are overtly disrespectful to their target audience, young women.

      Make your own choices. But users have a right to be educated and make wise choices beyond the marketing.

  64. rockindel1 Avatar

    actually the pictures aren’t deleted off the person who receives the image it is just renamed, if a person looks for it they can find it rename it and open it and save it. There are many tech articles that show how to do this

  65. Alexandria Avatar

    Mister McLane, I’m currently a teenager and while I used snapchat briefly (I used it for a day, and only had a conversation with my sister that consisted of a picture of only my face, I really didn’t understand the joy of making a face and adding a message that can only be viewed for a moment) , I believe your views only confirm my previous suspicions. It makes sense for the creators to be that deceptive especially if they state it directly in the terms of use that very few people actually read, and its honestly just sad that they created it. Call me behind the times, but this is the reason I prefer emailing or phoning my friends when I can’t see them face-to-face. And another thing that aroused my suspicions in thee very first place, the fact that even though it only gives a moment to see the original picture, it can easily be screenshot and posted online. Just that quickly. Not to mention that since it has access to the internet, Google can easily take that picture and post it on their site. And then the whole world knows what you look like underneath. (maybe this is why I’m not very popular…) Before I only had my personal feelings to back up my reasons to discourage my friends to use it, but now I have your article. Thank you so much for making this post and I thank you for all of the reputations, and maybe even lives, you have saved by posting your findings. Is there any way your post could be taken to a court or the government to present and support the idea of, I don’t know, completely deactivating the app?

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Thanks for this comment. I love how you are thinking about this and getting it.

    2. BC Avatar

      what teenager writes like this?

  66. Kim Randall Avatar

    While parts of this article is true any parent… no anyone using the internet needs to remember that nothing posted to the internet is safe. Anyone can hack anything and anyone can screen shot anything. If you’re afraid it will be leaked, don’t post it.

  67. […] a little bit about it on Twitter), and stirred up quite a dust storm with his sobering post, Why You Should Delete Snapchat. Adam resolved, “I’ve never seen a more dangerous application targeting teenagers, […]

  68. MD Avatar

    Actually, the term “betch” and the review are derived from the site “” which is written by women. Fact check.

  69. Meow Avatar

    Why is it a big deal that maybe someday ppl will see the pics if they are all innocent?

    1. travelsonic Avatar

      I think the mindset is a valid one – that not everything is everybody’;s business, that’s why – even if the setting for expressing that is not the best in any sense of the word.

  70. Dan Avatar

    Really good judge of character here and I must say I started reading your article with an open mind hoping I would learn something like a danger I had not previously thought of ect. However, it is obvious to me that you have done this purely for your personal monetary benefit , you are not the least bit interested by who is affected or what is put online. Why would you when your livelihood now depends on there being issues with modern tech and personal privacy. The sad thing is that I could do what you are doing via scaremongering and bullshitting and be a lot more convincing doing it. You need to rethink your life. Regards , Dan (21) Daily Snapchat user.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      @dan – I’m not sure I get your point. How does my livelihood “depends on there being issues with modern tech and personal privacy.”

      This post was written to educate users of Snapchat, pure and simple. It was written through the lens of a book I published in 2012 with content I’ve refined since about 2000.

      I’m actually not a scaremongerer. That’s hardly my style, feel free to read other things I’ve written/published on the topic before making accusations and building assumptions.

      The irony is that the most revealing parts of this article are really just the words of the creators and not me. I didn’t say those things, I didn’t put those things in my terms of service… they did.

  71. Andy McSherren Avatar
    Andy McSherren

    I think the possibility of compromising photos being left on public servers is the least of users worries. There is the misconception on the part of countless young women that they are simply “flashing” their boyfriends with revealing photos that will disappear within a few seconds. With a press of a couple of buttons (on an Iphone at least), a screen shot can be taken of that photo and it can be distributed to other teens or to a host of different sites. I think that is the more immediate threat – a private image that a jilted or mean spirited boyfriend will distribute at will to anyone.

  72. adam mclane Avatar

    @andy – I agree with you there. I think there’s a bigger phenomenon, in general, that men are asking or demanding women/girls for nude images. (Either in the course of a relationship or in pre-relationship flirting. Or even just because they can ask without fear of recourse.)

    In short, I’m against the devaluing of women as a whole. Asking a woman to demean herself or objectify herself is hardly leading towards a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship.

    [Just so people don’t think I’m a prude who are following comments. I recognize that it’s different when adults do this within a committed relationship. Though, I can’t even imagine ever doing that and I personally think it’d be demeaning/devaluing/objectifying to even ask. But I recognize that within a relationship many consider sharing private photos/videos normative. Just do so in full knowledge that they could become public without your consent.]

    1. Jeff Avatar

      Are you going to worry about everything ? When I started reading this, my daughter (17) walked through the room I was in. I warned her of the dangers of sc and she rolled her eyes at me. After I finished the read, I too roll my eyes. There are LOTS of more pressing issues with society for me to spend my time “worrying ” with, or warning my children against.
      Too much time on your hands 🙂
      Don’t worry Be happy

  73. […] Teen Has SnapChat and You Need to Delete it!!! – At least that’s what this article makes a strong case […]

  74. […] a link to my article called, Why You Should Delete Snapchat. Now read more than 400,000 times and shared on Facebook 40,000+ […]

  75. […] Why You Should Delete SnapChat from Adam McLane This entry was posted in Links. Bookmark the permalink. ← Thinking about healthy eating and Chipolte’s ad about “The Scarecrow” […]

  76. MildyFrustratedReader Avatar

    Oh my God. There is a simple solution to all of this, that being you do not need to sext on snapchat. If the app is being used innocently for funny pictures, funny films of the dog etc (as 98% of people that I know use it) there can not be an issue. You shouldn’t delete snapchat IF you are smart enough to use it responsibly. Just because its original intention was to be used as a ‘sexting’ tool, doesn’t mean that is what it must be. This is the most insecure piece of fear-mongering I have ever read, and as I read the comments I see that it is working on may parents who may or may not be very unfamiliar with how technology and the internet works. New rules:
    #1. Dont sext with snapchat
    #w. There does not need to be a rule 2. See rule 1.

  77. Ash Book Avatar
    Ash Book

    Snapchat is not free – it comes at a cost of 25p when you use it via 3G.

  78. […] SnapChat, the mobile picture sharing service that is popular among some segments of teenagers.  “Why you should delete SnapChat.” written by blogger and youth worker Adam […]

  79. […] give credit where it’s due. Unlike Snapchat, which I continue to argue was created as a bait for teenage and young adult females to send […]

  80. […] Many young users report cyber bullying through apps like WhatsApp, and others question the perceived privacy of photos sent via SnapChat. Regardless of how it’s  being used, however, it’s clear […]

  81. […] day, more information has been shared by the school about a clever social media application called Snap Chat used to send a cryptic text message to a few students. The mobile app, it turns out, has made it […]

  82. Bilbo Magic Avatar

    You have missed the point entirely. It may have been created with sexting as a possibility, but people use it to be silly not sexy. I snapchat with my friends and nobody sends anything revealing. It’s just fun, and I’m happy the things I send won’t come back to haunt me. You are just overreacting and need to stop being a knee-jerk paternal blowhard. Calm down. There are far worse things out there.

  83. […] and data sharing.  Snapchat, with its promise of anonymity and not to store/sell your data (sadly, not really true…) saw exponential growth after the NSA […]

  84. […] Snapchat is the worst culprit. They appear to offer private picture sharing that “goes away” – it doesn’t. They are keeping and even selling your pictures to make a profit. Read more in this blog post entitled Why You Should Delete Snapchat. […]

  85. babybear Avatar

    I don’t know why this guy has a problem with snapchat, when there are plenty of apps that do the same thing (in terms of selling info to other companies). If the issue is sexting, trust me, your kids will find ways to do it. I don’t even understand why kids under the age of 16 or 17 have cell phones anyway. Parents should know the risks of the Internet being in the hands of their children anyway and should deal to them accordingly. If you know your child doesn’t partake in those inappropriate activities then you should be fine

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Since writing this post I’ve heard from plenty of parents who didn’t know what their kids were up to until there was a serious problem. And I’ve heard from a bunch of teenage girls who have been targeted with the app. There actually isn’t another app built quite like this one which lures and baits users to send supposedly private images. The point of this post isn’t that all social media is bad, that’s not the point of my book nor the point of my parent seminars. The point is that this particular app is built on lies, targeted at teenage girls, and isn’t to be trusted. It’s now valued at $3.8 billion. So that should tell you write there that they have tons and tons of metadata they plan to mine & sell. That’s why for the first time ever I just say it so bluntly, delete the app and use Instagram instead. It’s a much more healthy ecosystem and their TOS and track record are actually pretty good.

  86. Emily Avatar

    I’m not deleting my snapchat. If one of my friends wants to screenshot one of my purposefully hideous selfies that are in no way revealing or inappropriate, that’s fine with me. I find it hilarious. If it ends up on the internet for “Woman Crush Wednesday” who cares? It’s a fun app. All of these overprotective parents need to calm down because, chances are, they’re kids aren’t sending nudes. They’re sending selfies to their friends like everyone else.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      @emily- thanks for the comment. I addressed your point in the last section of the post: “But I use it innocently” “But it’s really fun.”

      1. Robby Avatar

        You sort of addressed the point, but not in any way that’s specific to Snapchat. The example you gave, the girl whose private Photobucket account was hacked and whose pictures were used nefariously, was unrelated to Snapchat. And your rebuttal to “But I use it innocently” is equally (if not more) valid against photo-sharing sites like Instagram, which you endorsed as an alternative to Snapchat.

        It would be more consistent to advice against Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Flickr or any service where your photos may be stored on a third party’s servers. Or, more realistically, just use whatever social media you’d like but only post what you’d be comfortable showing to your grandmother.

  87. Hakarune Avatar

    You’re kind of talking half out your ass and the other half is for self gain and promoting Facebook/Instagram. You need to reread the TOS more carefully and learn a bit more about the Internet. You can use snapchat and be 100% anon, just takes a quick setup. (i.e. TOR or secure VPN with foreign sip registered to a foreign email, hey I’m snaping and anonymous at the same time).

    Also, you don’t even need to use screenshots, you can save a snap by manipulating the data mine for the on the internal drive of the phone and easily decrypt the ouput back into an image without even opening the snap. This method voids the 10s rule and doesn’t inform the user that you saved the snap. If you’re going to writea tech article on safety in the 21st century, you should know the tech and not sound like a moron.

  88. Kay Avatar

    As a grown adult that regularly uses snapchat to send silly pictures to my friends, I really think the responsibility lies with the user or the parents of the user depending on their age. I know how the internet works and from the time I downloaded it I knew it would be traveling across multiple servers and that it didn’t really “disappear.” It’s also the responsibility of the users to be familiar with what you are agreeing to when you click that button to sign up. They specifically say it might not be deleted… Educate yourself and your child about how these things work!

    That being said, I just make sure I only take pictures that I don’t care if they are public. I really don’t care if a picture of me making a silly face or my dog doing something stupid is on the Internet. I don’t really see any problems with snapchat when you use it responsibly…

  89. Kitty Avatar

    Our entire school district banned it from any school device (we went 1:1 this year and every 5th-12th grade student has an iPad…unrestricted).

  90. […] Snap chat knows who you are , where you are, and they store it all. (They are legally bound to). As Adam Mcclane writes in this article, what your kids perceive as private information being shared is a […]

  91. Paula Avatar

    I agree that the responsibility lies with the user and the parent. Its not just snapchat (or any other app) that can use your photo. Once its out there, its ALWAYS out there. You can’t, can’t, CAN’T trust anyone. Spouses/partners break up. Phones and cameras get lost/stolen. It happens. If you take a picture, you have to assume it will become public at some point in time, whether you share it or not.

  92. Jas Avatar

    If your not being a disgusting whore or a complete freak then you should be fine. Get over it don’t download it. Let people make their own decisions. Your opinion doesn’t matter. This is the most idiotic post I’ve seen. Go be a social media Nazi somehwere else.

  93. Kim Avatar

    Wow! I had no idea! Thank you for the information Adam! I am talking to my teenage boys right now about it!

  94. tori Avatar

    I’m a college student and I have been using the app for a long time and this article saddens me. The problen isn’t the app. My parents raised me to do certain things and stay away from others. My faith keeps me grounded in those principles. If you are a parent that really wants to protect your child through social media, TALK TO THEM. Explain to them your concerns and expectations. Snapchat may have been created for sexting but it doesn’t make you send a naked picture. If your son or daughter wants to do that, they will find a way snapchat or not. Talk to your kids about the importance of social media privacy. Research with them and ensure you all are on the same page. The idea of the app is great. My mom has a smart phone now and I use it to send her pics while I’m at school. Some of my friends at distant schools and I use it just to stay in touch. Some of those pics literally make my day. Dont delete the app just because it originally has a sexual purpose. That’s not a solid reason and if you’re dealing with teens that’s going to be one of the worst foundations to start on because they are going to think you’re attacking them. This article is right: everything online can be accessed, you are not guaranteed privacy, and you have to be careful. But these aren’t reasons to delete it all together. It is a fun app that if used properly does no harm. It’s that simple.

    1. Wendy Avatar

      Hi Tori, I have raised my children as your parents raised you.They are great kids who would never sext. The scary part of this app is that the bozos that created it will always have access to your images. They can manipulate the pics you send, or sell them. They can put your face on a body doing something you would never do and put it out there for the whole world to see. There is a picture that was manipulated recently. It is a naked woman’s body and Willie Robertson’s wife’s face. It looks like she is posing nude. Look it up and see what I am talking about. (The picture I saw had private parts blurred.) It’s such a shame that people don’t have better things to do with their time. Please protect yourself from lowlifes who just want to take advantage of sweet girls like you.

  95. ian nething Avatar
    ian nething

    eh, not really a fan of this. i get that we need to protect the kids and all. but this seems to be teaching that the problem is with inanimate objects forcing us to act in certain ways. this is just something that takes personal responsibility. telling people that they need to delete the app to fix the problem sends a wrong message. people that wanna do wrong are gonna find any way to do it no matter what you restrict or allow. if you’re worried about anything you do being seen, just don’t use the internet. i appreciate the idea, i just think there are better ways to get this message across

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      How are people supposed to take personal responsibility if they don’t know how social media works, it’s potential negative impact, or the history behind an app that was created with the intention to exploit them? What would be an approach you would offer to teenagers?

      Not trying to be sarcastic… but I’m not sure what else would be more effective that I have access to? I’m just a dad who happens to write. This is what I can do… I’m open to your ideas though.

      1. ian nething Avatar
        ian nething

        i didn’t mean to say not communicate. communication is key. tell kids what could happen (any other social media could be dangerous as well). educate, then emphasize the responsibility. kids have to know that at the end of the day, how they use something is their choice, not some app creator’s choice.

  96. Jeremy Avatar

    Sir you have no idea of the actual legality behind what the company can and cannot sell. While it is true that the pictures sent are stored on a server for a minimum of 60 days, these pictures themselves are not being sold. They sell information such as what gender you are, your age, and general location of where you live to directly market to specific demographics. No American truly has any privacy anymore, this we haven’t for quite sometime, this App is no more dangerous than the NSA snooping on you text messages and phone calls or anytime you go to an ATM or even walk by one, you’re being recorded. So this is in fact a petty article to generate popularity via the internet for you to market yourself in hopes of indeed turning a profit in some manor. So cut the bullshit, and maybe write about more serious issues such as the energy crisis, fresh water shortage, and overpopulation, all situations that are staring humanity in the face and we have little to no solution for on a large scale.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Appreciate the comment. I think we can both agree that since the NSA is a government agency and Snapchat is a privately held company there are more checks and balances (read responsibility) on the data the NSA collects and what they do with it than what Snapchat does. I’d encourage you to poke around a little and you’ll see that the FTC and other agencies are raising the same concerns I’m bringing up about Snapchat. Here’s another relevant article pointing out that the core marketing thing SC says, that the images go away, isn’t actually true:

      I don’t pretend to know exactly what metadata Snapchat stores permanently. But just about any app “should” be storing as much as it can so they can turn around and sell it to marketers. Thinking like an admin for a second, I know I’d want to store user ID, device ID, registered email, COPPA compliance, plus the time/date/User ID/Location/action of every snap sent from every user… at a minimum.

      I’m not against that at all, actually. That’s the American way after all and every social media tools stores that. (Um, I’m storing that about you! Thanks for visiting my blog!)

      What I am against is the stuff I mentioned in this post, the exploitation of their audience. This app is built, as their own words point out, to allow people to think the data they send is private and goes away when in fact that isn’t 100% true. Specifically targeting that at teenage/young adult females deserves to be called out. It’s a shame that more aren’t speaking out.

      As far as why I’ve written about this topic, I care about teenagers. I believe this app is marketed to teenage and young adult females. Like many people who work with teenagers, we’ve all heard the horror stories of women being targeted by predatory behavior with this app. Two things about this post which are relevant to your comment which you couldn’t know because you’re new to my blog.

      1. I co-wrote a book about developing healthy habits for social media in families. I’m actually pro social media and not known as an alarmist. I’m actually one of the few people out doing education, seminars, and writing on the topic who isn’t alarmist. (Trust me, there’s more money in scaring people than there is in just sharing data.) This post is essentially an addendum to the book. It takes principles taught in the book and extrapolates them into what we know about Snapchat.
      2. I’ve spent my adult life investing in teenagers. I care about teenagers greatly. So it makes sense for me to write about something that exploits adolescents and it doesn’t make any sense for me to write about the things you mentioned.

      There are several thousand posts on my blog about a wide variety of topics, if you’d like to get a better idea of what I’m all about, please feel free to coast around.

      Have a great night!

  97. Lisa Avatar

    When my teens (19 and 17) told me snap chat was “safe,” because it disappeared, I looked at them skeptically and asked if someone could screenshot it. They said yes…but…. And then it only took a few weeks for someone at their school to screenshot someone else’s selfie of a male body part and send it around. Lesson learned pretty quick there. My kids use snap chat a LOT, but all they do is send dorky pics back and forth and talk. They have always been careful with keeping the cleavage or anything else out of online shots. Snapchat can be innocent. It is a great way for my college kid to continue to connect to the brother left back at home in high school. And we all snap chat together then too! I think telling kids NOT to use something is never as good of an idea of helping them navigate HOW to use something. Same goes for drinking, sex, technology. Teens try stuff, even the ones you think would NEVER do something…and from what I have noticed of my kids’ friends…the ones who are so restricted at home with random tech searches, grounding, and rigid rules, with more controlling parents try the most risky and crazy stuff of all. The kids who got black out drunk and slept around my daughter’s freshman year were the kids with the most controlling parents. My daughter, who had a bit more of an adventurous senior year in high school, had a much tamer and safer first year in college. I would rather give them a little room to try stuff safely and educate them on the consequences.

  98. Andrew Bartow Avatar

    This is going to be a long thorough response, and most of you will probably want to skip to the summary at the end; however, I feel compelled to address this in depth, because the author makes a few misleading statements commonly made by those who lack a technical background and comment on social media privacy. The author’s blanket statements, although good rules of thumb, are not true in every instance. Particularly, one can post things on the internet privately and there is such a thing as anonymity online. However, to do so, one must consider who they want to keep their content and identity private from. Different attackers have access to varying amounts of resources. It would be rather trivial for me to keep something private and posted online from the vast majority of people reading this post, although it would not be so simple to keep things a secret from the U.S. government, although it may still be possible to do so. Using technologies such as Tor, public-key encryption, and perfect forward secrecy, I can send a message and remain anonymous to the vast majority of people. ( They aren’t perfect solutions, yet they suffice for most use cases.

    Now, on to Snapchat specifically. There are a few dissections of the Snapchat Protocol/API available publicly. (…/revisiting-snapchat-api-and…/ and Ultimately, Snapchat’s security model relies on the user trusting the photo to Snapchat and the photo’s recipient, as the app’s security, although imperfect, should suffice to keep most non-sophisticated attackers out along the way between those points. Yes, you can save Snapchats you get. It is possible, and put bluntly, there will always be a way to do so. That said, Snapchat’s security should serve to keep the vast majority of people from doing so, in much the same way a lock might not keep a thief out, however it will keep an honest person honest. Users should keep this possibility in mind, and decide whether or not it’s a risk they’re willing to take.

    A user must also trust Snapchat to keep their information private, and delete the photo following transmission. Snapchat promises to do so in their privacy policy. ( The statement in the privacy policy the author is referring to likely involves usage statistics and does not concern photographs. The author does not substantiate their claims that “according to the terms of service, they can store for whatever purposes they want for as long as they want.”. They outline exactly what they do with their data. They legally bind themselves to “Once all recipients have viewed a Snap, we automatically delete the Snap from our servers and our Services are programmed to delete the Snap from the recipients’ devices.” They have billions of dollars riding on their user’s trust. Ultimately, for most user’s uses of Snapchat and the threats that those users face, I believe them to be trustworthy in that statement. That’s an assessment for an individual to make themselves. Most people are using the service to have clean fun by sending silly photographs, and their information is likely secure enough for that purpose, Snapchat’s stated purpose.

    Summary: You can be anonymous on the internet. You can be private on the internet. Privacy and anonymity involve trust and calculated risk. For Snapchat, you must trust Snapchat and whoever you send your Snapchats to. Snap recipients are theoretically able to save and reproduce Snaps they recieve, although there are measures in place to prevent such activity. Snapchat states they delete all photographs from the service, and for most users’ purposes can likely be trusted to do so. Most likely, if the recipient does not save the photo on first viewing, it is gone. Ultimately, when you send a Snap, you must decide whether you believe the Snap’s recipient and Snapchat can be trusted to do as they promise and delete the Snap. So long as users of Snapchat weigh the risk carefully, the author is greatly overstepping her grounds to call for the app to be deleted.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      @andrew – Thanks for your comment. Your entire argument presupposes that Snapchat is trustworthy. I addressed the credibility of Snapchat in the post. Decide for yourself if you’d like to trust people who refer to their customers as “betches.” I chose not to. Also, as I pointed out in the post, they’ve been far from transparent in their intention with the app. When they want to market it to adolescents… they say “Oh, everything goes away magically.” But when they are trying to attract the attention of a PR company they say stuff like, “You should see what people are sending!” It’s becoming more and more clear that Snapchat is what it originally intended to be.

      Of course there’s the reality that Snapchat is providing evidence to law enforcement, meaning they are keeping– at the very least, the metadata of everything. (And they’d be fools not to.)

      I laughed at this statement: “misleading statements commonly made by those who lack a technical background and comment on social media privacy.” If the site you are linking to is correct and if you are not spoofing your IP address… your comment is coming from someone who isn’t qualified to create an apology for Snapchat. Just saying.

  99. Justlee Avatar

    Point is it’s not just snapchat it’s the entire internet! How can this one app be put down? Have you seen the far worse ones out there? I won’t name any but I suggest you research these others first!

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      I’m not arguing that there aren’t other apps like this. (KIK,, whatapp… there are a bunch of ones similar.) But SC is the biggest, by far. As I opened the post with I’ve been around social media for a long time and I’ve never seen one quite as popular as this one while being quite as misleading as this one is. And I’ve never recommended, ever, that people just flat out delete an app before or since. (I wrote this post in August 2013)

      If this post hasn’t persuaded you, I can live with that. My hope is that you’ve seen that there are people who see the app as misleading, there are people currently being exploited, and you should proceed with that knowledge. Coolio?

  100. David Abramson Avatar

    Adam, nice article! My one question for you is why they didn’t sell it for $3 Billion to Facebook if their goal is to sell it for lots of money to appease their venture capital investors?

    You hit it on the head about the concerns of these social networking companies selling and mining your data…it’s all pretty disturbing.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      I guess I am not that guy because $3 billion is a lot of money in my world.

      A few things that I think went into the decision to say no…
      1. They simply can’t pass FTC regulation to sell to a publicly traded company. There’s no way Snapchat is currenly COPPA compliant and they aren’t deploying any technology that would flag or prevent minors from sending/receiving pornography and/or child pornography.
      2. The week they were offered $3 billion they were re-valued at $3.8 billion. So $3 billion was a low ball offer, they think they can get more. (I hope they go bankrupt!)
      3. The ownership group is currently in litigation over who owns what % of the company. To get a check for $3 billion (and probably some options of FB stock) would really mess that litigation up.
      4. Their investors aren’t asking them to sell yet.

      Ultimately, I don’t know. I do know… matter of factly… that I can’t get certain companies to cover this story and I suspect that one reason is that there are investors who want to cash out before this thing implodes into a pile of lawsuits. Just my opinion on that one… no real idea!

      1. David Abramson Avatar

        Thanks for taking the time to reply! I’m not that guy either haha. That’s Dr. Evil pinky over the mouth kind of money!!

  101. Adamm Weaver Avatar
    Adamm Weaver

    here’s a great idea, if you don’t want your pictures to be public don’t post them anywhere on the internet. Why in the world would anyone put a picture they don’t want to go public on the internet. Yes, in a perfect world you should be able to put comments, pictures, etc on the internet without someone using it to their amusement or gain at your expense. However, this is not a perfect world and your blaming a social media sight, keyword SOCIAL for people’s bad behavior. Especially in this day and age, if its on the internet its not private regardless of the “privacy settings”. What you should tell people is that if you want to keep something private whether conversation or picture its best to leave it off social media sight. I would never have my wife send me pictures of herself over a social media sight. I would never have a private conversation either. Bottom line if its on the internet, its not private regardless of the “privacy and security”.

  102. Aaron Avatar

    For one. you shouldnt focus on an application to stop your kids from sexting. Targeting an application and badmouthing isnt gonna to stop he or she. Your child could sure as hell send a picture through sms. Dont be ignorant and think that this app is the cause. Talk to your child its not your decision to run their life its your decision to guide them.

  103. Paula Stout Burke Avatar

    You can take videos and photos of a snapchat with another device…perverts don’t care about digital quality.

  104. Bobby Avatar

    Anything written online is subject to be used by any company. Facebook uses the info you type in and then erase without even posting it. Crazy!

  105. Nina Avatar

    This is the most idiotic post I’ve ever wasted my time reading. Here’s a novel idea…why don’t parents start teaching their kids the dangers of sending naked pictures rather than blaming the big bad Internet for their lack of guidance? And while they’re at it, teach them how to choose respectable friendships that would not leak said inappropriate photos.

    I’m 23 now, but I was a teenager not too long ago and know how they think, at least somewhat better than the middle aged parents ranting on this blog. I (and all of my friends and even my parents and all their friends) use snapchat all the time and I’ve never sent or received one nudie pic. Snapchat is not forcing you to take naked pictures of your newly sprouted tween boobies, that was YOUR decision. It’s ignorant to blame a company for actions of its users. This entire blog is the perfect example of parents over reacting and looking for a scapegoat for their own incompetence.

    1. twp Avatar

      WOW get a life. You “wasted your time” reading the post, yet you made the conscious decision to waste more time by posting an ignorant comment. LOL Parental responsibility is just as important as you say, but it is NOT ignorant to inform and educate about what can happen. Hopefully it’ll clue parents in so they’ll be more in touch with what’s going on in their kid’s social media life. In the meantime I recommend you waste your time elsewhere. Lol 🙂

    2. Katie123 Avatar

      1. If you decided to open your eyes a little bit in your whole whopping 23 years (obviously being facetious there), you’d realize kids don’t listen to their parents every time they tell them to not do something
      2. This post is still teaching these kids personal accountability. If they still don’t listen, it’s their own fault. But if you’re truly angry that a post is giving young women information about how not to find her breasts later online, I quite frankly have no idea what’s wrong with you.
      3. As someone who is married, we have hidden folders on our computer that are purposely hidden for a reason. If someone finds pictures or tapes of us illegally by stealing our computer, that’s their own fault. But some people who use snapchat are also in longterm monogamous relationships and don’t want any potentiality of some failed frat guys fapping to them later online. They’re not all tweenyboppers. Some people also don’t want pictures of them making ugly faces to their friends splattered online somewhere. This helps out people of all ages no matter how they use snapchat.
      4. I’m so glad you decided to write a whole post explaining to the world that you think you’re smart and you have large boobies.

  106. Amber Avatar

    I forwarded this to both my teenage girls. Great article.

  107. smh Avatar

    Yeah you think you know about anonymity and the interwebs but you don’t and just gave a bunch of false info

  108. Peter Avatar

    here is a thought.. why dont you teach personal responsibility with technology and not abstinence.. you dont think other social media companies are using your data for “evil”?

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      That’s actually what I teach, Peter. Check out other things I write about social media or pick up the book. (Which is based on a seminar I do for students & parents all about healthy habits for social media usage.)

      While ranting about social media and scaring the heck out of parents would make me tons more money, I’ve worked with teenagers long enough to know that the best way to modify behavior is to give facts and ask people to decide for themselves.

      I teach principles about social media that’ll always be true, 1 of which is the basis for this post. (There’s no such thing as online privacy, only perceived online privacy.)

      I appreciate the comment and understand you are new to my writing. Check out more and you’ll see my style. 🙂

      1. Peter Avatar

        if that is what you teach why did you write this blog? One can have snapchat and not use it for sexting. so I really cannot comprehend why you would write something that was contradictory to a such a core belief. if your point was to make people aware of the dangers of snapchat than you did a great job, but the point was to make people delete it because of the dangers. You forget that people are going to abuse technology no matter what the intentions of the developer. I really don’t care about the intentions of the developerof snapchat just like i dont care what the intentions are of the founders of Facebook who wanted to stalk hot women. I use the technology for my enjoyment and practice responsibility. total abstinence from any technology in my opinion is wrong. I appreciate and respect your opinion on this matter, but it doesn’t seem wise to me to have this position. Personal responsibility always trumps total abstinence when considering media or technology.

  109. Larry Avatar


  110. Brian O Avatar
    Brian O

    So I use SnapChat. Mostly for goofy stuff, all of it very innocent. I’m not hugely concerned about the pictures I take on there going public even if they ever did, but I’m having a hard time making the same determinations that the writer of this blog is making about the company’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I read both entirely and what I saw in the Terms is that they reserve the right to do what they want with your photos, but it’s “subject to your use of privacy settings in the Services to control who can see your User Content.” That means even if they wanted to reproduce something I posted, it would only be with the people I call “My Friends” in Snapchat. I’m not suggesting that’s okay. I’m just saying, let’s not blow things out of proportion unnecessarily. Also in their privacy policy it says, “When you send or receive Snaps, we also temporarily collect, process and store the contents of the Snaps (such as photos, videos and/or captions) on our servers. The contents of Snaps are also temporarily stored on the devices of recipients. Once all recipients have viewed a Snap, we automatically delete the Snap from our servers and our Services are programmed to delete the Snap from the recipients’ devices.” It doesn’t say they rename the snap, it says they DELETE the snap. So if they are legally requiring themselves to delete everything as soon as possible, by their own Privacy Policy, are we unnecessarily freaking everyone out about their app usage?

  111. Oran Avatar

    Frankly I think people put way too much value on the naked human body like its an end all be all (looking at you judeo-christian, among others). People in many of today’s societies think that if someone got a hold of their nudes their lives are “destroyed”. The human body is a natural form and it shouldn’t be held to such a standard. It certainly wasn’t always that way and in many cultures it isn’t. Clothes are worn for protection not “modesty”. That aside it is the internet, and whether they hold the right to sell the private data or not anything you post is subject to being spread. Even if they couldn’t legally do it, do you think that stops any of the MASSIVE about of illegal images and data sharing that goes on? nope. Why doesn’t it? cause its extremely difficult to enforce and expensive. However the makers of snapchat seem like annoying dudebros but I’m not surprised. if you didn’t know the original intent of a app that let you send pics on a timer for “deletion” then you are naive. So send them if you want, some people aren’t bothered by someone having random shots, some people areand if you are then just don’t send them over the phone or computer, show them in person. Honestly people only care because we put a value on something that we shouldn’t; someone seeing your natural body should not matter as much as it does, but I degress.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      I certainly agree that there are ways to see the naked human body in a non-sexual way. But using your smart phone to take a naked selfie is hardly an artistic expression.

      The danger here is really that Snapchat is marketing a lie with the intention of exploiting trust. That’s why I encourage more open sites like Instagram… the app does virtually the same thing without the illusion that the image is 100% private or will disappear.

  112. Jason Tucker Avatar

    There are also apps for jailbroken phones to download each image that is viewed without the person knowing you are doing it. There are also apps that you can download from the legit app store that will do the same thing

  113. Josh Avatar

    I’m afraid I don’t agree with you.

    Yes…the creators may be scumbags. Yes…the app was probably built for sexting. Yes…they probably store SOME information but…

    Snapchat is the BEST way to share what you’re experiencing in the moment with a particular person(s). Instagram/Facebook are completely different social networks meant for complete transparency.

    You obviously don’t understand the value of this network, and seem to be stuck on the illusion that it’s private. So what it’s not completely private. It still allows me to share specific moments easily with the people I care about (and not the entire population of my followers).

    I use it everyday to communicate with my little sisters. It’s the best way for me to reach out to them, and maintain my relationship. Without it I wouldn’t nearly be as close with them.

    Yeah parents can try to get their sons/daughters to delete it…but it won’t work. They’ll still download it. The best thing parents can do is to use Snapchat to create relationships with their offspring. Communicate on a level they’re comfortable, and one they ENJOY using. Teach them the dangers of sending inappropriate pictures, or doing something they might regret.

    I love Snapchat, and won’t be deleting it anytime soon.

  114. Tom Avatar

    I’m sure my sentiment has been echoed in a previous comment somewhere, but I don’t have time to read through them all and sometimes I feel the need to let my voice be heard anyways.

    When used in a responsible manner, Snapchat is no more dangerous than any other form of social media – and is in fact most likely LESS dangerous than many forms of social media.

    The issue at the core of this is absolutely no different than it is with anything else on the internet (or pretty much anything else in life that involves personal accountability or responsibility): it’s all about HOW YOU USE IT.

    Sure, if you are using Snapchat to sext or send any other personally incriminating photos, there’s always a chance that it will come back to bit you in the butt. That’s how it is with any form of electronic communication. I do see the issue here though; people use this app expecting some sort of privacy or anonymity, less because of the use of usernames or “pseudonyms,” but more because what’s sent is saved neither on the user’s nor the recipient’s device. Like I said though, if you’re not using this app to send naked pictures of yourself or pictures of that guy you just murdered, it’s no more dangerous than sending a text message…in fact, it’s probably less dangerous as far as the amount of effort needed to uncover sensitive material is concerned.

    It all comes down to the end users being responsible with how they use it, and it isn’t any different with any other form of electronic communication today. I will echo other commenters in saying that I feel that it’s actually a really great app for sharing a funny or cute moment quickly with multiple people. I’ve used it for a while now, and I’ll continue to use it because I’m not sending pictures of my genitals to anyone through it or any other means of electronic communication, ergo I have nothing to be worried about. I can’t say that for what other people might send me, but 1) that’s not the kind of company I keep, and 2) that would be their problem…I’m not responsible for the actions of others nor the consequences their actions may carry.

    All of this is not to say that the author’s message is without merit. Anyone today who uses the internet, especially ANY form of social media (which encompasses hundreds of millions, if not BILLIONS of people) needs to be especially mindful about what information they are sharing. Even if you feel like it’s safe and secure, always remember that there’s someone more technologically knowledgable than yourself, and if someone really wants to find what you’ve shared, they can and will most definitely find a way.

    Be responsible and you don’t have anything to worry about.

  115. Sam Avatar

    How do you find the pictures you send on snapchat?

  116. Samantha Avatar

    These comments are so enlightening! Everyone has an opinion about everything! It is an article on a blog – his personal blog and he is trying to help others by informing them. Like teen girls mostly! I say who cares either way – use it or don’t! Read the terms first, read the article, read comments! Be informed and use your own judgement on what you feel is right or wrong.

  117. Anonymous Avatar

    My sister was suicidal and only admitted it through a Snapchat because she knew it wouldn’t be permanent. Probably would not have been so straightforward any other way. Luckily the recipient reported it and saved her life. So yes there are downsides to Snapchat just like there are to everything but at this point it is definitely on my good side.

  118. jr Avatar

    sounds like someone is jealous they didn’t create it so now there bashing the makers! no shit everything sent over the internet is stored somewhere in a server cache its todays world no matter what you do there will be a pic get out there someway matter if its snapchat, facebook, myspace, twitter, email, text messages theres to many options.

  119. me Avatar

    Do you honestly believe the nsa has any checks and balances? Have you not paid attention to the news? Anything on the internet has a chance of being abused. Fear mongering and sheltering your kids is the stupidest thing you could possibly do. Abstinence only education, that turned out swimmingly didn’t it? Teach your kids to be smart and not to be afraid of everything.

  120. Emily Avatar

    Snap chat isn’t an online thing….it goes to a mobile phone and that’s it.

  121. Shane Smith Avatar
    Shane Smith

    That is like saying that we should stop going to the hospital because they perform abortions there

  122. Tammy Avatar

    I enjoyed your well written blog post and I will talk to my kids about SnapChat as I know that 3 of the 4 do use it regularly. (the youngest is 12 and we are pretty vigilant about making sure he isn’t using social media yet) I am not sure I will make them delete it — it is a great way for our girls to keep in touch while one is off in college, but I am grateful to be able to share the info with them. I really do appreciate the info as I am confident that is the purpose of your post — to help inform parents, not shove it down our throats, bad mouth the app etc. I am also glad for your “promotion” at the end of the article about the other things you have written as I would love to read more. I think it is a shame that you have to keep defending what you have written on your own blog, but I applaud you for never being defensive and just reiterating your purpose. Thank you. I look forward to sharing this with my kids and opening a dialog with them about this subject.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Thanks for your comment, Tammy. I didn’t intend for this post to be read by millions of people but I’m happy to treat any visitor to my blog the same way I’d treat them face to face, with respect. I’ve been blogging a long time and have thick skin. I find that when people are inflammatory it probably has more to do with something else in their life and not me. Plus, some people just like to post comments to get responses and you have to discern your way through it.

  123. Kelci Avatar

    I have them all Instagram Facebook and Snapchat and if Snapchat isn’t safe than neither is Facebook or Instagram

  124. Tess Avatar

    you’re argument is completely invalid if you don’t use snap chat to sext….just saying…

  125. Cameron Tigers Burden Avatar

    i just think snapchat is stupid 🙂

  126. sarah Avatar

    Any parent that allows their kids/ teens to have internet access alone where something bad could be snapped is Crazy….we don’t allow a computer in our kids rooms and their cell/ipads are turned in to our room nightly.

  127. Emily Avatar

    As a college student, I am aware of the dangers of Snapchat and I am aware of its original intent when it was created. I know there are several people who do abuse the application for things such as sexting. But I also know that there are people who use the application for a fun, innocent way of communicating with friends all around the world.
    This article talks about why Snapchat should be deleted and the fact that teens are too irresponsible for something like this. Maybe that’s true. But nowhere does the article address the responsibility of the parents over how their children use apps. Parents can monitor and parents can teach. My parents always taught me the dangers of sending pictures and messages online and they taught me the correct way to use online apps. Now, it is my responsibility to put into practice what they have taught me.
    Apps can be dangerous. Their is no denying it. But do you honestly think it will get better based on the way technology is going? Based on the younger and younger ages that parents are buying these electronics for their kids? I doubt it. If people are going to buy pieces of technology that will allow children/teens access to these kinds of apps, then we should be willing to teach them how to use them responsibly.

    (I would appreciate not receiving nasty replies. Just wanted to put some thoughts out there. 🙂 )

  128. […] Why you should delete snapchat is a pretty thorough article that pulls apart snapchat’s terms of use and privacy policy to reveal just how easy it is for them to use your snaps and make money. Rob Banagale, owner of Gliph parallels this guy’s findings and suggests his app is even more private than texting (which I agree with). […]

  129. Scott Avatar

    The author of the article didn’t point out the email saying “We’ve seen a lot of stuff”. Implying that they are reviewing the images which are passed through the system, which means that they are all saved.

  130. Chris Wilson Avatar
    Chris Wilson

    The writer of this article is a fool.

    The article shows his ignorance. So you want your kids to send these pictures through text messaging and not Snapchat? Snaps disappear of the receivers phone, texted pictures do not. The person then could easily save them and post them on the internet. The writer spends a lot of time talking about how everything is permanent on the internet? You do realize Snapchat does not post the pictures on the internet right? And Instagram????? Are you crazy? That is the internet.


    1. b dog Avatar
      b dog

      You can resend snaps just as easily as pics or texts!!!!!! Thats part of the point. They have been hacked many times and the pics posted online. And they have a right to sell any information that passes through their system. My cousin works for a company that makes pretty much the same app. Maybe you should read everything before you make an INFORMED decision.

    2. adam mclane Avatar

      @chris – actually, since Snapchat isn’t using SMS to send the images between devices the images are essentially uploaded to a webserver, sent to the other device, then once the snap is opened the image is then deleted off of Snapchats server, and the image is “deleted” from the receivers device. (They refer to their webserver as a datastore.)

      Here’s a little about Snapchat’s infrastructure on the Google Cloud: (as opposed to the more popular Amazon webservices, like Dropbox or early Twitter)

      These are their own words talking about how the Snaps are saved on their “Datastore.”

      Regarding the difference between a texted image or even one sent via Instagram, the point is that no one assumes it’s going to go away. That’s a HUGE difference in creating behavior to the user. You are much more prone to send something unedited if you think it’s just going to go away. When you post it to Instagram or text it to someone, there’s a little voice in the back of your head telling you this could be really public.

      Specifically regarding an SMS message. If you send something to someone and you both delete it, it takes a court order to retrieve it. If you send a message via KIK or Whatapp or whatever else that’s using a webserver and not SMS… the provider is able to do whatever they want with that message. It might be in their best interest to treat it like a text, but in reality they are just dumping all of that data into their server to be mined later for advertizing. I mean… a free app valued at $3.8 billion isn’t really free, is it?

      As far as the name calling goes, why not just engage me in a discussion on the points in the article rather than just trying to say I don’t know what I’m talking about? Saying I’m a fool isn’t getting you anywhere and certainly not engaging in civil conversation. I’m happy to keep learning about this topic, I’d love your counterpoint.

  131. adam mclane Avatar

    Well actually, I’m not asking questions that aren’t being asked by government agencies like the FTC & others.

    You asked if there are rules about user agreements? Well, any website that collects information from US users must comply with COPPA. ( So it’s Snapchaat’s responsibility to ensure that they are not collecting any personally identifiable information for children under 13 years old.

    As far as technology that they could deploy that would flag or block underage users from sending or receiving illicit images, I don’t know that such a technology exists… but if I were Snapchat I’d hope they are developing and deploying one. Certainly, if Facebook can use technology that does facial recognition on images uploaded by it’s 1 billion + users, Snapchat can deploy technology that detects other (ahem) objects.

    If they are developing that… to be ho