The Sassy Housewife is a weekly advice column from Momaha.com. We will cover adventures in parenting, relationships and entertaining.
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Dear Sassy Housewife,
Just last week I learned about Snapchat, one of the most popular messaging apps among teens. Both of my teenagers use it daily and I now know why. This magical app makes messages vanish after viewing them. You can send pictures or videos and they disappear in seconds.
I must be naive because at first I didn't think teenagers would send anything other than silly videos or cool pictures to friends and family. I was wrong. Last night I caught my daughter snapping a photo of herself wearing a form-fitting tank top with her bra exposed. From the way she was standing, I am almost positive it was a photo of her chest. She's 16 and I know she has a boyfriend, but I don't understand why she feels the need to send these types of pictures. When she saw me standing in her doorway, she was clearly embarrassed and denied any wrongdoing. I let it go, but I know I need to talk to her about this and revisit the issue. How should I handle this?
Dear Snapchat mom,
You are not alone. This happens to a lot more parents than you think. This exact same scenario played out at my sister-in-law's house last summer. The first thing you need to do is simply tell your daughter that you're not upset with her but rather want to keep her safe and educate her about what could happen.
Tell her that even though the app says the photos and videos vanish, people can take screen shots of photos and download videos so quickly and easily these days. That means someone could forward the picture or video on to other people and humiliate her.
She could also get in trouble with the law if the photos are too revealing because she is a minor – and so could you if you technically own the phone containing these photos.
There's a lot parents should know about social media and apps such as Snapchat before allowing kids to use them. I encourage you to look into what other apps and social media sites your daughter's using to ensure she's safe. It's always good to stay on top of that because her future employers or college recruiters could access them.
Sit down with your daughter and let her know that sending those types of photos could come back to haunt her in the future and that's not what you want for her. Most importantly, tell her that showing off her bra is not what makes her beautiful or intelligent. If the boy is worth it, he'll like her for much more than that overpriced Victoria's Secret bra.
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