If you have young teens in your home, you sure would have heard of Snapchat. And if you have not, it is time to update yourself on this. It is the latest mobile photo-sharing app which offers the service of self destruct images within 10 seconds after being sent. Snapchat has within a short span emerged as the sixth-most popular free app for Apple’s mobile services.

Obviously Snapchat is an instant hit among high school kids who use it to pass notes in class about teachers with funny faces, friend’s distorted images, cheat snapshots from answer sheets, and other incriminating photos. It also allows them to import Facebook friends or input user names of friends making it easier to share Snapchat pictures to an inner circle of friends. Suddenly the fear of reprisal seems to have disappeared from their young minds.

And kids give discretion a big miss, relying on the self destruct feature of the app! However it is a false sense of security encouraging even the shy and reticent ones to indulge in sexting. In fact, researchers point out in no uncertain terms that the app has given a big push to the phenomenon of sexting thanks to its self destruct feature. An estimated 110 million self-destructing pics have already been shared among users. Kids are led to believe that Snapchat images will never come back to haunt them. As parents you must make them aware that intruders and marketing agencies can still grab screenshots and nothing on the Internet actually dies. It leaves a footprint behind. Despite its hyped self destruct feature, a security flaw was exposed by experts in which recipients could very easily retrieve videos sent via Snapchat. Besides this, Snapchat has a feature that shows the top three most-messaged friends on the public profile of a user. When one clicks on a friend’s name within the app, the Web profile of the person opens up. This means people who aren’t your friends on Snapchat can look up your profile.

It is time to engage your kids in some plain speak and tell them that, while such apps will keep emerging, discretion should be a permanent feature in their attitude. Also, keep yourself updated with security best practices, latest online security news and incidents through NetGenie blogs. Stay safe online!