Kayleigh Roberts
February 27, 2015 10:17 am

It may seem like the most obvious thing ever, but it’s really not the best idea to Snapchat naked pictures of yourself. Yes, they disappear in just a few seconds, but with screenshots, there’s no guarantee the recipient won’t keep a souvenir from your sexting sesh. Plus, if you’re under 18, just sending a naked picture (even of yourself) could raise issues of child pornography. It’s a whole lot of common sense stuff that can go out the window when Snapping is seen as safe and totally temporary.

That’s why Snapchat felt the need to issue rules for teenage users (the “keep your clothes on” directive is getting the most attention, but the rules also include prohibitions against threatening or impersonating others and self-harming). “‘Don’t use Snapchat for any illegal shenanigans and if you’re under 18 or are Snapping with someone who might be: keep your clothes on!” Snapchat writes in its community guidelines.

The company is also going out of its way to make sure users are super, 100 percent clear on the fact that Snaps can haunt them forever, much like the app’s own recognizable ghost icon: “Be thoughtful about what you Snap and whom you send it to. It’s okay with us if someone takes a screenshot, but we can’t speak for you or your friends. Snapchat attempts to detect screenshots and notify the sender, but it doesn’t always work perfectly — and your friend can always capture the image with a camera.” We’re not adding the emphasis here; that’s all from Team Snapchat.

Snapchat is also appealing to teens’ parents, trying to convince them that Snapchat isn’t just a sexting app (something anyone who uses the app already knows, in spite of its less-than-family-friendly reputation). It’s trying so hard to convince them of that, in fact, that it issued a , to educate them about Snapchat and how to talk to their teens about the dangers of the app. The guidebook answers parental FAQs like “Why do kids love Snapchat so much?” (answer: they understand that what you put online is there forever and they like having an outlet for self-expression that’s less permanent) and “What are the risks of using Snapchat?” (answer: it all depends on how you use the app).

It also leaves parents with a reminder that most teens aren’t getting into trouble with Snapchat, and a big picture analogy about plane crashes to put things in perspective.

“There’s no need to panic every time you hear a media report about something awful happening in social media. The reason the news media cover awful situations is because they’re rare. How often do you see headlines about planes landing safely? We only hear about the ones that crash.”

Fair enough, Snapchat. Still, as totally “duh” as the guidelines are to most of us, we’re glad Snapchat is stepping up and explaining the risks of Snap sexting. If it’s an a-ha moment for even one user, it’s worth it.

(Image via Shutterstock.)