Sexting via Snapchat Results in Legal Consequences


A photograph is a memory frozen in time, capturing a moment for years to come—or, if it’s taken using popular smartphone app Snapchat, it is a captured memory for 10 seconds max until the picture disappears.

In the hallways, during class, throughout the lunch waves, by the bus loop and everywhere else you turn at Staples, students can be seen taking silly pictures of themselves to send to their friends. What most people don’t see, however, is what some are using this app for behind closed doors. For some at Staples, Snapchat has become the newest and most convenient way to send “sexts” to their peers.

“What’s going on is that a lot of kids are engaging in sexting [with Snapchat] and they think it’s a temporary situation—that if they send a picture, it’s going to disappear,” said Karyn Morgan, assistant principal for the freshman class, who recently discussed the Snapchat sexting issue with Principal John Dodig and Assistant Principal James Farnen at a meeting with parents.

According to Morgan, among the cases with which she has dealt, it’s generally a girl who will send a compromising photo to a boy, who might then save the picture without the sender’s knowledge. Morgan also noted that these incidents of sexting have been isolated in the freshman and sophomore grades.

“Sex is not the issue,” Dodig said. “The issue is that now there is technology that allows kids to do things that can harm them for the rest of their lives.”

Dodig refers to the serious and possibly legal implications of sending out or receiving an inappropriate picture of a minor, which may be regarded as possession or distribution of child pornography.

However, these serious consequences are often lost on those participating, likely due to the ostensibly temporary nature of sending a picture through Snapchat.

“I don’t think it even occurs to the girl that a guy is saving the Snapchat,” Griffin Thrush ’15 said.

This is due, in part to the creativity of those saving the pictures.

“You can take a snapshot, but the sender will get a notification if this occurs, so another person can take a picture of the Snapchat from another phone to save the photo,” Jackie Ortega ’15 said.

Although some Staples students have taken advantage of the app, others still use Snapchat particularly often, and generally don’t feel that its misuse has anyone shying away.

“I don’t know anyone who uses Snapchat for the sole use of sexting, so I don’t believe it will affect [the use of Snapchat at Staples] much,” Andrew Felman ’14 said.

Such is the feeling among the majority of Staples students—especially juniors and seniors—who reportedly use Snapchat only for fun.

“I enjoy sending gross pictures of my weird face to people.They seem to like it,” Ryan Moran ’13 said. “I guess I use it for laughs.”

But regardless of its use, Morgan advises that students be careful when sending pictures into cyberspace.

“You have to stop and think,” Morgan said. “If I send this picture, where will it go? How will it be received? What will happen to me?”