App Makes Shared Pictures Disappear; Teens Like It, Some Parents Don't

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WACO (May 10, 2012)—A new app called SnapChat is a real-time, picture-sharing smart phone application that’s supposed to make shared pictures disappear.

A picture sent to a friend’s phone can be viewed for just 10 seconds before it disappears and disappears for good, according to the app’s makers.

Evan Spiegel, a representative of SnapChat, says once the pictures are gone, they're gone.

"The images sent through our service are deleted immediately after they are viewed," Spiegel said.

Some teenagers think it's a good idea.

"I believe it's a great thing," said Anquanae McCullen.

“You can't blackmail or anything and it's fast for you."

But not all parents are convinced.

"It's worrisome I don't like that," said Susan Stoner.

"Kids don't need to be putting anything out there that needs to be disposed of. That doesn't need to be done at all."

The app and others like it are sparking controversy because of concerns they could make sexting easier.

SnapChat is intended for users ages 12 and older.

"Unfortunately, kids are smarter than their parents when it comes to technology," said Hector Sotomayor, owner of Mobile Computer Repair in Waco.

Sotomayor said that just because the picture disappears from the phone, doesn't mean it's gone forever.

"It's sent over the Internet," he said.

"Anything over the Internet is permanent."

Sotomayor said hackers could access the photos if they try hard enough.

"Anything that's stored on your phone there's a cache," he said.

"There is nothing in the world that can't be hacked."

Experts say the only way to completely protect private pictures is to never send them at all.