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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Snapchat Leak leads to questions about lack of teenage awareness

Sending pictures has become as simple as text messaging by virtue of a single app: Snapchat.

SnapChat bills itself as an app that can send pictures and make them disappear moments after they are viewed. As a result, many teens feel comfortable sending pictures that they would not want the whole world to see, deluded by the app’s assurance that their pictures will disappear forever.

Sadly, that promise has turned out to be a lie. On Oct. 11, hackers tapped into a third-party app called SnapSaved and leaked about 100,000 photos and videos from SnapChat users.

Users were appalled and outraged by the leak, but in reality, this kind of breach was inevitable.

Adults constantly teach young people that once they put something on the Internet, it never goes away. But this concept has simply not been solidified in the minds of teenagers — indeed, not in the minds of many adults either.

Almost everyone has had their information hacked at least once in their lives, whether it be  through their email or Facebook or something else. Not to mention, most information on the Internet is being tracked by Google and the NSA. Because Snapchat photos are supposed to be only temporarily viewable to recipients, some teenagers use the app for sexting. By some estimates, 50 percent of Snapchat users between the ages of 13 and 17 engage in sexting.

It is irresponsible and immature for teenagers to communicate in this way. Texts are just words, but sexting images are visual representations of a person and potentially far more embarrassing.

The hackers got got the images are also taking huge risks. They are subject to possible child pornography charges, and the viewers, who decide to save any of these leaked photos, could also face legal consequences if the photos were to reach the public domain.

The makers of Snapchat, the original app, should not be held responsible for the leak because the photos were not stolen from their servers. The third-party Snapchat apps are not subjected to SnapChat’s terms of use that protect the privacy of app users.

This goes to show that in a world where everything is online, teens need to be more aware of what they are doing on the Internet. In particular, they need to be cautious of the pictures they send and the apps they download because what goes online stays online forever. 

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