Snapchat’s Pornographic Spam Problem

Well, parents, if you’ve allowed your teen to use a Snapchat account despite the recent horror stories, you’ve got another thing to snapchat-porn-spamworry about. This week, students at a school in Glen Rock New Jersey reported receiving unwanted pornographic images from strangers via Snapchat – adult pornographic images.

Snapchat is a popular picture-messaging app, in which the pictures self destruct within a short time period defined by the sender, between 1 and 10 seconds. Numerous problems have been reported, particularly by high school students, in which photos that were meant to be private were captured and posted elsewhere on the web or social media networks. In the case of nude or semi nude photos sent by underage users, this has proven to be quite serious.

Snapchat was built for sexting, basically. Why would a parent allow a teen to use Snapchat in the first place? Perhaps a child is very responsible and can be trusted beyond a doubt to act responsibly. In that case perhaps the trust has been warranted until now.

This case, where anonymous users were able to send inappropriate adult images to teen users with public accounts, changes everything.

Snapchat posted comments on its blog after being contacted by users:

“Early this morning, some Snapchatters alerted us that they had received unwanted snaps from people who weren’t their friends. Upon initial investigation, it appears that an individual created multiple accounts and sent snaps to Snapchatters with public accounts.

Our engineering team responded quickly (nice work guys!) by temporarily turning off new account creation and preventing Snapchatters from receiving snaps from friends that they had not previously added on Snapchat.”

A couple of observations:

  1. It is not OK for teens to have accounts set to public. It is vitally important that they approve users before those users are allowed to send messages.
  2. Snapchat imples that they “now” do not allow users to receive messages from non-friends. Why did they do that in the first place? What other glitches are there that could put your child in harm’s way?

Be careful out there.



Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.

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