Has the Snapchat craze gone too far?

You may have read in the media about  Snapchat streaks causing bullying and intimidation. The following are a few notes for parents and users about how this popular social media game began. How it functions.

Snapchat is an app that has been around since 2011. Its purpose is to let users send photos and videos that disappear after an allotted amount of time. This tends to be just a few seconds.  The idea is to read the message before it disappears.  I guess the equivalent in fun terms is writing a note in secret ink and watch it disappear!

This year Snapchat 2.0 was developed as an extension to the basic programme.  The idea behind Snapchat Story is to see how long you can keep a snapchat going by passing it on in a sequence for up to 24 hours.

Great promotion for the social media provider, but there’s a major downside.  There is pressure on children to keep these streaks going.  Break the flow of a streak which has been circulating by not participating and you can destroy a friendship.  It’s the speeded up social media equivalent of not replying to a letter. Apart from the time lost which could be better spent on homework or physical exercise, it’s causing relationship stress and bullying.

While they started as a bit of fun, Snapchat streaks are becoming more like the old fashioned chain letters.  These scams, which still exist today, began essentially as money making operations. They morphed into ways to scare the living daylights out of vulnerable people. The sender would say “if you don’t pass these on to seven other people, you (or I) will have bad luck for a year”.  That’s how they perpetuated. There was a burst of new chain letter activity on the net some years ago.

The only way to stop chain letters was to refuse to pass them on. If Snapchat streaks begin to cause upsets then it is probably best to treat them in the same manner.

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