What is Sendit? - Snapchat's Questionable Add-On App
Sendit is an "anonymous app to use with true friends, for mature teens," working exclusively with Snapchat to enhance users' experience on the widespread social media phenomena. Wildly recommended for users aged 17yrs and above (however Safe on Social has reports of widespread use between 12-14yrs), Sendit features numerous augmented games prompting users to answer personal questions anonymously while acting as a 'feedback app.'
The 'anonymous' factor, breeds bullying and harmful behaviours and is a frequent threat to those who use the app. Although Sendit has tried to set up push-backs against these threats of harassment, such as offering a block feature, several games within Sendit still bring forth hateful comments and have been the cause of a lot of distress.
There is a way for users to opt for friends only, but we all know that no matter who your real-life friends are, there are always ways to meet people online, which can be either an asset or a hindrance. This can be seen, for example, by friends choosing to pick the game 'Truth or Dare' and launch it onto Snapchat, select who they wish to play with and then, through photo-based queries, send their repose to their friends Sendit's inbox and wait for a response.
In layman's terms, the app works like this:
1. Choose a game to play
2. Invite friends to answer on Snapchat by taking a photo with their response
3. Read responses anonymously on Sendit
It seems simple, but why is it hurting so many young people?
Dangers For Tweens/Teens
Just a short stroll down the app's review page and I found quite a lot of cases where responses like these were more common than foreign:
"My daughter is being bullied in school and has had threatening messages on Sendit, option to pay to see who sent it £8.49 weekly what a complete rip off it only gives you a hint. I gave my permission for her to have it, and we have had some fun with it, but it gives bullies a free rein as it gives them anonymity" - Parent of child aged eleven years.
When there's an anonymous feature, I suggest you run (or understand what you are getting yourself into).
This concept of paying to see who sent the response is not a strange money tactic and is common in many apps such as Instagram viewer apps, where you pay money to see who unfollowed you, blocked you, stalked you, etc. In a society that is so obsessed with being in control and so deeply self-conscious (thanks to having the whole world at the touch of your fingers and possessing the ability to see how everyone else acts, looks like, and thinks), it is no surprise that we are always wanting to have the upper hand.
Think about it this way, if you were playing a game where you asked the truth about what people thought about you and received a disturbing response that included hateful language, wouldn't you want to know who is responsible? This is precisely why we must respect ourselves and our conscious by looking at the big picture of the app before downloading or allowing children to download.
Parental Control and Reporting Features
Talk to your child about how the anonymous interactions on Sendit are used and the lack of accountability caused by not having a person's name visible on their account.
Have a game plan for what your child should do if they notice ill behaviour. The best method is always confiding in you before acting against the user.
Discuss the difference between online and offline friends, specifically, what is different between meeting a person online rather than unperson. Catfishing is a serious concern, and this is something I believe should be well known.
Before even allowing them to download the app, set up a family sharing/ family link which requires children to get your permission before downloading an app. Hence, you are knowledgeable about the apps your children are interacting with.
Screen time can also be a helpful tip to reduce time on apps such as these; although screen time does not allow you to monitor what your child is doing on the app, it does allow you to constrict how long they are on their devices.
Lastly, talk about why they want to use this app in the first place. You could even make it into a fun game where you could set up a family debate and have your children on the for and the against - being technologically active does not always mean we have to let go of games that don't fit on a screen.
My Safety Rating
I think it best that no one under the age of seventeen should be using this app and, if so, should be careful in the content they are interacting with; even so, my rating cannot go higher than 2/5 stars as this is not an app I would suggest toggling with unless well aware of the safety repercussions.
I am 17yrs and I live in Wollongong and am currently in my final year of high school (yay!). As a product of the twenty-first century, I would be lying if I said social media didn't play an important role in my day-to-day life, and, because of this, I want to ensure it continues to progress as a safe environment for all users.
I am very excited to be part of the Youth Advisory Committee and to be connecting with like-minded individuals.