Popular App Allows Vanishing Messages

December 21, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. customized [KUHS-tuh-mahyzd] (adj.) – having been changed or edited to suit somebody’s preference
Example: She put her favorite characters in the customized picture she showed us.

2. unicorn [YOO-ni-kawrn] (n.) – a fictional creature depicted like a white horse having a singular straight horn on the forehead
Example: She posted images of magical unicorns in her Facebook account.

3. vanish [VAN-ish] (v.) – to suddenly disappear
Example: I did not finish reading the text message because it immediately vanished.

4. indecent [in-DEE-suh nt] (adj.) – unacceptable to certain moral standards, especially in sexual matters
ExampleIndecent comments in the site are deleted to avoid offenses.

5. groundless [GROUND-lis] (adj.) – not having a basis or evidence
Example: His groundless arguments were dismissed by the parties concerned.


Read the text below.
The app Snapchat is now gaining popularity as more and more people see it as an entertaining way to communicate.

Snapchat is a message service application which was initially released in September 2011 and is based in Southern California, USA. It has become in demand ever since, especially to teenagers.

This app enables users to send customized images. The app’s touch screen features allow the users to personalize the pictures they send. For example, users can draw moustaches [MUHS-tash-is, muh-STASH-is] on faces, create speech bubbles, turn their pictures into princesses or unicorns, or exactly anything they want.

Moreover, the most popular feature of this app is that the pictures and videos sent can vanish in seconds.  Pictures and videos may be timed by the sender to disappear within 10 seconds or less after having been opened.  

Because of this feature, however, Snapchat has been the subject of criticisms. Some people fear that teenagers may feel safe in sending indecent and sexually-suggestive messages.

But according to Matthew Johnson, the director of Education at a non-profit digital literacy organization Mediasmart, this fear is groundless. Johnson argued that Snapchat is used in the same way as other message services are used. He also said that a research conducted by Mediasmart revealed that teenagers expect their peers to act responsibly. Johnson also added that sending messages avoid misunderstanding because one can send with visual expressions that cannot be found in e-mail and common text messaging.

Furthermore, Johnson emphasized that using Snapchat already indicates that the sender is not serious and is merely having fun.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think Snapchat would make communication more effective? Why or why not?
·         After reading this article, would you be interested to use Snapchat? Why is that so?

Discussion B

·         Do you agree that message service applications like Snapchat have a disadvantage? Explain.
·         How can we guide teenagers in using message service applications responsibly?


December 21, 2013