It’s 5:30 p.m., and my cross country team has just won its first meet. Before any celebrating, they must assist in taking down and storing course flags and markers. My team actually love doing this, mostly because they get to ride on the golf cart.
As I drive my athletes around our gorgeous campus, two runners take harmless, goofy photos of each other on their iPhones.
“I am so going to Snapchat that,” one students says.
When I ask about this new application and what it does, I am laughed at for not knowing.
“Mr. Cutler, everybody is doing it,” the other says. “It’s so much fun. You can text any photograph and it deletes within a few seconds.”
This spells trouble, and I immediately begin to worry.
As Max Read of Gawker points out, as soon as this application launched, it didn’t take long for students to “snap” promiscuous, embarrassing and completely inappropriate photos of each other—all of which can be saved by taking an easy screen shot before any deletion occurs. At this point, the image can be posted anywhere for the entire world to see.
It’s surprising that it’s taken this long for “Snapchat Sluts” (totally NSFW) to exist. But we all knew it was coming — the minute you introduce a new way for teens to send each other nudes, the website collecting those nudes is only so far behind. — Max Read (Gawker)
I can think of no appropriate or ethical use of this application, which doesn’t even really deliver on what it advertises—a worry free way to send promiscuous, embarrassing and completely inappropriate photos.
Still, I offer Snapchat credit for making blazingly obvious that to remain relevant, educators have an obligation to investigate and learn about emerging technologies. Only then can we help our students make ethical decisions in an increasingly media saturated world.
As much as I loathe Snapchat, as educators, we can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist. Simply telling students not to use it won’t work. We need to engage them in sincere, serious and productive discussion.