KIRKLAND -- Hackers have obtained thousands of photos from Snapchat users who thought they were taking private photos that only lasted a few seconds.
Fourteen-year-old Dane Garmin says he uses Snapchat all the time to make plans with his friends.
“You can see each other, and it's more interactive than just texting the person.”
Snapchat pictures and videos are only supposed to be available for a few seconds. That’s what makes the app appealing to a lot of people.
“I don't care that much because I don't send anything that's bad, so it doesn't matter if it stays or goes away,” says Jayce Guthrie, 14.
Fifty percent of Snapchat users are 13-17 years old. Some are using the app to send nude or suggestive photos.
“Some people do that over Snapchat, because you can see if they screen-shot it. So I guess it's safer that way,” says Garmin.
But cyber-criminals have hacked Snapchat, through the third-party apps that connect to it. They’re now leaking online up to 100,000 stolen photos and videos. Some of them could be considered child pornography.
“That’s kind of a scary thing,” admits Guthrie.
Internet security experts say this latest hack is another reason parents need to keep an eye on how their kids are communicating.
“It's imperative that you sit down with kids periodically and say, what kind of apps are you using? What's on your phone? What are you doing?” says Linda Criddle.
She says users can’t always trust what a company says about privacy. That’s why she says parents need to talk specifically about sexting.
“Parents need to help their kids understand why it matters, what the potential ramifications of this kind of information getting out, and help them make better choices.”
Frank Guthrie hopes this hack makes his son think twice about what he snaps in the future.
“What I hope he learns is don't ever do anything in public that you wouldn't want a thousand people or a million people to know about. That keeps your morality and ideals pretty straight.”