Paying for nudity on Snapchat

With Snapchat’s new installation of Snapcash, trading micro-payments for raunchy pictures is now incredibly simple.

On Nov. 17, 2014, Snapchat, the popular media messaging service, announced the integration of Snapcash, a peer-to-peer payment system through the payment service Square.

With the new installation, users who are 18 and over that are located in the United States can connect their debit cards to their account and instantly send money to friends.

By simply typing the dollar sign, the amount, and pressing the new green pay button, money is deposited directly into your friend’s bank account.

It’s as straightforward as it is potentially dangerous.

With Snapchat being primarily image sharing accompanied by short messages, it won’t take long until sexual aspects will come into play.

According to a study done by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 20 percent of teenagers have sent or posted nude or semi nude photos or videos of themselves. As sending nude pictures under the age of 18 is illegal, Carlmont has seen problems with students sending sexually explicit content.

With regards to sending nude pictures, Vice Principal Jennifer Cho said, “Just because you’re sending pictures on Snapchat doesn’t mean that someone didn’t take a screenshot. The Internet is forever. You no longer have control over your own personal privacy to someone else and then once that’s out there you don’t know if its going to come back at all, ever, or not.”

Third party apps like “Snapkeep” and “Snapgrab” are being made solely to allow users to screenshot pictures received on Snapchat without sending a notification to the sender.

“There are already problems with the amount of nudes being sent around, but what worries me with Snapcash is how easily innocent, stupid acts can turn into the addictive act of earning money with minimal efforts,” said senior Yunus Evsen.

With Snapchat’s circumventable age verification and semi-anonymous account system, minors potentially have the ability to sell, send, and receive nude pictures.

Picture this: a boy and a girl begin Snapchatting innocently, and one thing leads to another. Sooner or later, one of them asks for a naked picture. Assuming that both parties are, or claim to be, over the age of 18 and have money on their debit card, this can be made possible for a price.

Senior Nathan Rosenthal said, “Snapchat has already gotten people used to the idea of sending sensitive material to others under the motive of an innocent flirt and false sense of security. Now they raise the stakes by adding cash incentives. Not to mention, sending inappropriate pictures under 18 is illegal by itself.”

According to a poll of 198 students conducted by Carlmont Journalism, 90 percent of students use Snapchat. Of those 198, only 14 percent are over 18. “As a student, Snapcash definitely complicates things and you certainly don’t want to be in a position where someone wants to throw you some money for a picture that can be a charge against you,” said Cho.

California’s obscenity laws protect minors from pornographic exploitation through possession, transport, distribution, and sale of pornography with the involvement of minors. Sending out nudes under the age of 18 is distribution of child pornography, and receiving nudes as a minor or from a minor is considered possession of child pornography.

“Snapcash is going to bring a lot of unwarranted negative attention just because there is money affiliated with Snapchat now. With the money and naked pictures being sent around it’s going to create an industry for both pornography and child pornography,” said Rosenthal.

Do you believe Snapcash will lead to an increase in child pornography?

Yes, it will become a major issue.
It might create some problems, but nothing too serious.
No, it won’t affect the amount of child pornography distributed.

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