Today’s random musing was inspired by the following tweet:

While the tweet in question is meant to promote an article detailing why it’s a good idea to use Snapchat (I’ll cover that later), it raises an interesting point.

Teenagers in every generation with the exception of ours went through their formative years without social networks, and their ability to broadcast one’s feelings to whoever bothers to listen.

Teenagers in every generation including ours went through their formative years with no small amount of vitriol, social disruption, and regrettable actions.

Starting to see a problem here? :P

What are the point of those stupid age limits?

You know, like the one in WhatsApp’s TOS (that pretty much nobody would read).

In any case, you affirm that you are at least 16 years old as the WhatsApp Service is not intended for children under 16.

I call this a reasonable age restriction. Facebook’s TOS (which some parents may read), on the other hand, permits teenagers to join as soon as they cross the age barrier of 13. This is unreasonable and is, I claim, probably intended to make Facebook money (of course, who do you think a large percentage of their userbase are?)

Do you want to know why I think that?

(I’m banking on the fact that you do, given you’ve already bothered to read this far.)

I think that because the internet never forgets. All those drunk photos you took and posted everywhere, all those angry threats you sent over WhatsApp - all remains somewhere, for the rest of your life. What is sent cannot be unsent. And let’s face it - you will at some point in your teenage life do something regrettable. This is why age restrictions exist.

When you send an angry message to your friend, you are placing your trust in them to not redistribute or keep a copy of that angry message. Which is unlikely, because, you know, they’re likely quite angry.

This is where I condemn Snapchat, for giving the illusion that what you send will go away. It won’t. It’s been on at least three devices (the sender’s, the server, the reciever), any of which may keep logs, and barring any sort of technical solution, you can still record someone’s Snap simply by getting out a camera and videoing it.

It encourages you to send stuff you will regret later, by giving you the illusion that it’ll go away.

So don’t.

Don’t send anything you might regret later. Think before you share anything. It sucks that we have to do this, but this is how technology works.

If you want to yell at someone, do it in real life.