Banning Snapchat won't stop students sexting - and that isn't all we use the app for, anyway

Pupils at Eton will be intelligent enough to find another way to send saucy snaps

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Eton College, the 573-year-old blue-blooded public school, has banned Snapchat from its lofty spires, and something tells me it will lose this particular battle with the 21st century.

For those at the back, Snapchat is rapidly growing picture and video messaging app which self-deletes content up to ten seconds after being viewed, and on which 400 million pictures are sent every day.

Evan Spiegel, the 23-year-old founder of Snapchat, said last year that a quarter of UK smartphones had the app, which equates to up to seven million British users. Eton also announced last year that it would collaborate with a group of London technology start-ups and that in twenty years’ time technology “in [the] school will be dramatically different”, so the decision to ban the app jars heavily with this ethos. (Did someone say “Eton mess”?)

The school’s headmaster Tony Little told the Telegraph that Snapchat “is blocked from the Eton wireless internet system”, but added that its pupils “can still use it via the 3G phone network, but we hope that blocking it on our network will, at least, make them think twice. This is part of our continuing effort to educate boys in the sensible use of technology.”

Eton has also previously said it doesn’t want to be the “last dinosaur standing” when it comes to technology, but it’s a pretty antediluvian method of education to try and ban something while simultaneously allowing it. Blocking Snapchat on wireless while allowing it to be accessed on 3G is about as effective as a blindfold in a blackout, and similarly myopic.

Banning it won’t work, because pupils of the most exclusive school in the country will most certainly be intelligent enough to find a way of sending and receiving saucy snaps.

I’d guess that the college’s noble virtues are very much out of mind when pubescent boarding-school boys are feeling salacious, and regardless of whether they’re in tailcoats and starched collars or trackies and trainers, horny teenage boys will always be horny teenage boys.

However, the hysteria of the over-sexualisation of young people that predictably accompanies new technology – not least that of “Snapchat sexting” - is once again unfounded. We Kids Today simply don’t use Snapchat for sexting. We use it for exchanging gloriously immature pictures of face gurning, inane objects doodled with ridiculous captions and the classic Selfie on the Toilet.

Anyway, someone should inform Mr. Little that the whole debate is theoretical; the “self-destruct in ten seconds” thing is a complete myth. Everyone who uses Snapchat knows it has a capture function which allows users to screen shot any image they receive, saving the picture and therefore rendering Snapchat “sexting” as risky as any other tit-shots sent via text. Forgive the less-than-Etonesque expression, but: duh.

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