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Images erased in a snap! Not quite.

For parents for teenagers, the popular photo sharing application Snapchat may be the eight-letter word you hope will never be referenced in your home due to the misconceptions many teens hold of this app. In the past, youthful indiscretions were often relegated to gossip, events hazily memorialized only as stories from a distant history. With the advent of omnipresent smart phones, however, such acts of juvenilia are crisply rendered and permanent. Teens often fail to recognize that the internet essentially warehouses all conveyed data, deleted or not. Parents should not.

One such application, Snapchat, encourages the magical thinking of temporary documentation in its promise to erase transmitted images ten seconds after they are viewed. Emboldened by Snapchat's assurances, teenagers photograph and send images that they may later lament due to the fact that such images have not actually been destroyed. As we have noted in earlier blogs, whether the recordings are innocuous or not, sending them may have serious repercussions on your teen's life.

Here are just three ways these images may be archived. You may want to share them with your teens to prevent them from making a mistake they regret years in the future.

1. Images may be saved to Snapchat server.

Sift through Snapchat's own user's policy, and you will find the company's admission that it owns the images and recordings captured using its application. Additionally, the policy states that Snapchat may use and can profit by such documentation. While the company may declare that transmissions sent will remain private, this disclosure reveals that the short-lived nature of a Snapchat image is simply not the case.

2. Third-party apps have been created to work around Snapchat technology.

Applications have been designed for many phone platforms to circumvent Snapchat's self-destruct technology. Owners of Android and IOS phones can purchase these add-ons from app stores, install them and use them to capture messages without the sender's knowledge.

3. Screenshots can save transmitted images.

For teens without unfettered access to an app store, the easiest way to permanently retain a Snapchat image is to take a picture of the screen. Although Snapchat claims its technology prevents secretive "screenshotting" from taking place, postings on YouTube and other websites provide instructions for successfully recording delivered messages.

While youth may be wasted on the youth, impetuous actions should not lay waste to your teen's future. Your teen may attempt to mollify you with the assertion that "no one will remember this in the future," not recognizing that the internet has a long memory supported by apps like Snapchat.

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