Asbury Park Press article…Keith Dunn Interviewed….”With great popularity, great concerns grow for Snapchat app”

January 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This article is from the Asbury Park Press in NJ.  Written by Alesha Williams.

How often does 17-year-old Caroline Moore use the photo and video messaging app known as Snapchat?

“Pretty much all day,” every day, like most of her friends, says the Colts Neck High School senior: They snap photos of themselves making weird faces. Of oddball items they find on store shelves. Of their pets’ antics, the teen says.

All that snapping has added up to a whopping 1 billion photos shared on the app since its founding in 2011.

But as fast as Snapchat’s popularity has spread, so have concerns that it isn’t all fun and games.

While the app features a timer that appears to delete photos in a matter of seconds, experts say that feature may encourage ‘sexting’ and other behavior that kids would otherwise avoid for fear of leaving a permanent e-record. Worse, tech reports have been abuzz this month with news of a workaround through a PC connection that allows users to save Snapchat video without notifying the sender.

Keith Dunn, a former Cumberland County detective on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force who now offers online safety programs for kids, says he’s seen Snapchat issues cropping up already in the schools with which he works, with students as young as the third grade taking revealing photographs.

“They’re like, ‘Hey, I can take this photograph and it will be deleted. You see me, it goes away, it won’t be a big deal.’

“The big problem is that kids learn (how to manipulate technology) as fast as technology changes,” Dunn said. “And what I’ve found as a detective … sexual predators learn even faster than the kids. Two seconds, and a girl could be victimized for the rest of her life.”

The fine print in the app’s privacy policy says it does not guarantee photos’ deletion.

Founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy were unavailable for comment about the concerns. But the company says on its blog that the app encourages “sharing authentic moments with friends,” rather than carefully cultivated images users might post on sites like Facebook and Instagram, where images tend to remain on display.


“It’s not all about fancy vacations, sushi dinners or beautiful sunsets,” their blog reads.

It’s what Shore area young people claim they like most about the app, in addition to the sense that someone would have to go out of their way to save their snaps. Viewers can save screen shots of a photo or video but the sender is typically notified by Snapchat when this occurs.

“I like the fact that you can send pictures of yourself you wouldn’t normally and they disappear after a certain amount of time,” said Kerri Bridgman, an 18-year-old senior at Wall High. “Your friends think they’re funny but it’s not something you would want everyone to see.”

She says she receives snaps four or five times a day, more than she sends them — like the video of a friend’s chair collapsing or photos of friends wrapping their hair around water bottles to look like the Dr. Seuss character Cindy Lou Who. Friends often send snaps home from college or will send a snap of what’s going on in the cafeteria to someone who’s in the gym.

According to a blog post by Spiegel, most of the users are high school students “using Snapchat as a new way to pass notes in class…We saw peaks of activity during the school day and dips on the weekends.”

And she and her friends feel safe doing it, Bridgman says.

“You’re picking who you send to,” Bridgman said. “You’re putting the trust in them that they’re not going to show to other people.”

Most important, 18-year-old Olivia Hayes, also a Wall senior, says she wouldn’t send pics of something she would seriously regret, anyway.

“I mean, I guess there’s always going to be those kids that (send racy messages),” Hayes said. “But it’s not like I’m sending anything that, if it was to be shared, I’d be so embarrassed about.”

Snapchat thoughts by Keith Dunn, KDCOP

January 4, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Posted in bullying, child, children, Cyberbullying | Leave a comment

WOW!  The Snapchat App is an amazing chance to send photos and videos to
your friends and family.  It even allows you to set a timer, up to 10
seconds, so that the photos and videos can only be seen for that length of time.

This app is another way of bring the world closer together, faster.  My terminology for this is the” instant gratification generation”.  I am not only talking about our kids
using these apps, but young adults up to middle age people wanting to be
instantly accessible.

It seems like more and more  applications are popping up online that allow our society to share what is going on with one anther immediately.

Snapchat is a really cool way for everyone to somewhat safely share images
or videos instantly.

Although the Snapchat app is “Very Cool”,  it comes with its drawbacks, especially to children under the age of 18.  Unfortunately, the over 800,000 students that I have spoken to all tell me the same thing; Our youth of today are using this technology in a “not so appropriate way”.

I get hundreds of e-mail’s from students telling me stories about sexting, chat
roulette, ooVoo, instagram and now Snapchat, where they have one or more
friends who are sending inappropriate images to one another.

I would love to sit back and say that 3rd-12th graders are not mis-using these applications, but I can not.

Almost 1 million audience members that I stand in front of are all the same.
Whether from South Dakota, Florida, California or Louisiana, they use
technology appropriately for a short time and then LOVE to stretch the
boundaries of wrong and right.

I can not fault them however, it wasn’t long ago when we all tested the waters and did things that we were really not supposed to do.  It is technology that is moving so fast and the only people able to keep up with that technology are our students.

If you think I am being cynical or going a little beyond the truth, just
understand that I receive phone calls from elementary school counselors
asking what to do since their 3rd graders have snap chatted an inappropriate
image of themselves then the other 3rd grader saved the image on their

Please don’t ask me why a 3rd grader has an IPhone, especially with
that capability, that is entirely another story.

A 5th grade boy at my last assembly told me that he started using Snapchat, Instagram, ooVoo and other social networking tools when all of a sudden he was being made fun of so much that he said “I was going to kill myself last night, but after talking to you, I know I have more to live for.”

Please don’t feel as if I hate these apps or am saying that they are used in
an inappropriate way by every student.  The majority of students are just
having fun posting silly videos and silly photos for a few seconds and
talking back and forth having fun.

The majority of our students in America are good intentioned, hard working kids.

Just remember, as parents that your child could get inadvertently caught up in, or be party to, or at least know someone that is using this application in ways that it was not intended to be used.

Snapchat was made to be a quick, fun way to share the lives of one another
in an instant and then let the user just move on to their next big event.
They live moment by moment, second by second.  We as adults need to be
aware of that and have an open line of communication so that when, or if,
our child begins to get caught up in using technology the wrong way, that
they will have the courage to come and talked to us immediately about what
is going on.

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