NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – One of the biggest ideas in mobile apps these days is the self-destructing message – photos and text that disappear instead of living forever.

But do they live forever, and what are the implications if they don’t?

Sree Sreenivasan, tech expert from our partner network CNET and Columbia University’s chief digital officer, was here to explain it all.

These self-destructing apps try to tackle the problem that everything digital lives forever. you send a photo or image and they disappear in a few seconds.

Two options are Snapchat (free, iPhone and Android) on which one billion photos have been sent already, with 20 millions photos being sent every day.

Another is less popular but with a lot of potential. It’s the new incarnation of Facebook’s Poke feature (free, iPhone).

The largest age group for these apps seems to be people 13-25 years of age.

It is useful, but you know that technology can be used to thwart technology.

If your friend takes a screen shot of your photo, you will get an alert that a screen shot has been taken. But you will not get an alert in case someone used another camera or phone to capture your image.

Please teach the kids in your life that things are permanent even if you think they self-destruct. Only you can control your impulse to share inappropriate images at inappropriate times.



Sree Sreenivasan is CBS2′s technology expert, appearing every Wednesday morning at 6:50 am to discuss ways to save you time, money and aggravation. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook  and on his personal siteE-mail your questions with “CBS New York” as the subject line.

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