Law enforcement warns parents about Snap Chat app

By: Christy Dimond Email
By: Christy Dimond Email

What if former Congressman Anthony Weiner's "sexting" pictures disappeared after a matter of seconds, and couldn't be viewed after that? Well, there's an app for that now.

It's called Snap Chat, and it's gaining users rapidly. The smartphone app allows users to send a photo or video and decide for how many seconds the recipient can view it. After that allotted time, the picture or video can't be re-opened.

"It's just kind of fun, like 'oh, look what I'm doing,' or if you do a silly face that you never want anyone to see again," said CMU sophomore Nycole Leinberger, who says she uses the app daily as a way to send funny pictures to friends.

While many users say it's just another way to communicate visually with friends, local law enforcement say the app is a vehicle for sexting.

"It's an app that was born out of the Anthony Weiner scandal, that's where the creators got the idea for the app so it's a sexting app," said Mesa County Sheriff's Office Community Outreach Deputy Chad Williams.

Deputy Williams said the app is being marketed as an app that's safe and secure, but said that's not the case. The recipient of the picture or video can simply take a screenshot of the image and it gets stored to their phone.

"Anytime that you're sending data from point A to point B, it's never secure," Deputy Williams said. "So even though they say [the image] is gone and not stored anywhere, people on the other end can screenshot it or they can use other applications or software to capture those images."

According to the app's website, more than 50 million snaps are shared every day.

Deputy Williams encourages parents to remind kids never to send inappropriate pictures, even if they believe it will only last for a couple seconds. He also encourages parents to contact him at 970-255-3983 regarding any questions about internet or mobile safety.

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