Snapchat and Poke: better or worse for sexting?

Snapchat, and now Facebook’s Poke, are fast becoming the more popular way to share our photos with friends and for some people, strangers too. At first glance we like to think that they avoid some of the perils of regular photo sharing apps, but once again, nothing we do online is ever that safe or clear cut.

What is Snapchat and Poke?

Snapchat has been around for a few years but has only recently been adopted wholeheartedly, largely by the teen and younger demographic of photo sharers. Both Snapchat, and Poke, which Faebook released last week to rival the popularity of Snapchat, are basically apps which allow you to take a photo, choose who to send it to and decide how long that photo is available for them to see before it self destructs and is no longer visible.

Text and video messages can also be sent, and you decide whether they are visible for 1,3,5 or 10 seconds. You are also limited to the number of people the message can be sent to.

Sounds better than having a photo that may have been sent on a whim hanging around cyberspace for many, many years to come. It saves us worrying about who may find the photo in the future. But like everything on the online world, we need to be just a little wary and at least alert to some of the dangers. You see, whilst you may choose who is viewing your photo and for how long it is available for them to see, it only takes 1 second for them to take a screen shot and the photo takes on a life like any other that is uploaded online. You are alerted when someone takes a screenshot, but powerless to do anything about retrieving the image.

Whilst this is not an issue for many users, and most are having lots of fun sending goofy photos and messages that are quicker than SMS messaging, these apps have been nicknamed the ‘sexting’ apps by some (it didnt help the reputation when the early marketing images used to promote Snapchat were of scantily clad girls in bikinis). But whatever the intention, many are proving more willing to send provocative photos, believing they will be invisible within seconds.

Once again, probably a good idea to heed to the rule……”if you don’t want anyone or everyone to see it….don’t hit send!”

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This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Thanks for the explanation Martine. So many things in life that are designed for harmless fun can have a flipside to them. I’ve no doubt these apps create a sense of “safe sexting” so the conversations we have with our teens probably now need to change from focusing on the risks of images being shared and floating around in cyberspace, to checking in on their self-respect and why they might choose to send naked images of themselves. A trickier conversation!

  2. Rachel from Redcliffe Style

    I’ve have never heard of this. But I agree, young (and old) people need to censor whatever they decide to send. They need to imagine their mum or boss may end up with it. Rachel xx

  3. Lyndal

    its an interesting conversation that definitely needs to be had – i know when i was younger i didn’t think twice about what i was putting on line in the slightest.


  4. Me

    I haven’t heard of these apps but have always been quite careful about what pics I post – you just never know who is going to find what on the web do you ?
    Have the best day and take care !
    #IBOT visitor

  5. Janet

    I haven’t heard of these, but my 16 y.o.daughter is hugely into Tumblr. I’ve seen some of the pics on there and some look borderline pornographic (to my old and fuddy duddy eyes anyway) …

  6. kirri

    I haven’t heard of either of these apps – but that’s why I come to you – you’re always keeping your head in the techy waves and I like learning and ‘preparing’ for the years to come!

  7. Emily

    Oh man I must be so far behind technology, I used to be fully up with it all until about 5 years ago, when I had kids, thanks for info! Emily

  8. rhian @melbs

    I have never heard of either of these, but I do worry about where things I post online could end up. I really need to get more savvy and I agree that we should be thinking twice and exercising caution with what we post on the net.

  9. Tracey @ Bliss Amongst Chaos

    I hadn’t heard of either of them. But I’m not really up with technology that much.
    Luckily my kids are a bit young for this kind of thing, but I think sexting is really worrying, especially for the parents of teenage girls. 🙂

  10. Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    I too haven’t heard of these apps. I’m already worried about my kids getting older and being more active online and potentially sharing images that they will regret later. Hearing about apps like these do not make me feel any better…but at least I have some sort of head start on them for now!

  11. Jennifer

    Please join us for a Friday Flash Blog, where you can share your favorite posting of the week and see what others are talking about at

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  12. Grace

    Oh, thanks so much for updating us on these new apps! But even more so, for letting us know about the potential dangers. Will definitely keep an eye out and also tell my friends who have teenagers about them.

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