Children in Guernsey are being warned about the lifelong implications of sharing “highly sensitive” content online.
Guernsey’s Data Protection Commissioner said doing so could cause “permanent damage to your reputation”.
It follows police reports that a Snapchat group could be encouraging around 50 local children to send indecent images.
Officers said investigations were ongoing.
The app has a minimum age of 13 and parents are being advised to check their children are not in the group.
A spokesperson for Snapchat said it was “committed to ensuring our app is both safe and age-appropriate”.
‘Out there forever’
Brent Homan, from the Office of the Data Protection Authority, said parents should speak to their children about the “risks of sharing highly sensitive photos online”.
When asked whether Snapchat’s disappearing messaging service “lulled people into a false sense of security”, Mr. Homan said: “I believe it does”.
Speaking to BBC Radio Guernsey he added: “You have to act like anything you send out on the internet could be there forever.
“With highly sensitive personal information and photos it can leave an indelible mark and damage to your future selves.”
He continued: “The person who is seven years old isn’t thinking about being 20 and getting into university, or their first job. It doesn’t prevent others from taking a photo of that message.”
In a statement, a Snap spokesperson said: “Snapchat is for over 13s and we are committed to ensuring our app is both safe and age-appropriate.
“If we find sexual or harmful content we remove it immediately and we work with police to support investigations.
“We also have extra protections in place for younger users, confidential in-app reporting tools so our community can tell us if they see inappropriate content, and our Family Centre, which allows parents to see who their teens are talking to.”
Parents are also being encouraged to set weekly, or monthly, meetings with their children to review their experiences online.
People with concerns about their children’s safety are being asked to contact Guernsey Police.