(The Root) — While I'm sure the laundry list of politicians and celebrities who wish they had known about this app is a mile long, anyone who wants to make sure that their sexy smartphone pictures go no further than the intended recipient would be wise to download SnapChat.

If you've been looking for a way to enjoy "safe sexting," your wish may be fulfilled with this app.

The concept behind the photo-sharing service is that you can send pictures to someone and control how long that person gets to see them. The photos will last on the recipient's phone only for up to 10 seconds before they self-destruct. And if that person tries to take a screenshot of the picture, the sender gets an alert. Genius, right?


SnapChat co-founder Evan Spiegel insists that the app was not primarily intended for those who require a little more discretion in their communication. The idea is that some information just wasn't meant to last forever, and the temporary nature of this type of photo sharing would encourage people to share more. Spiegel will admit, however, that the app was "partially inspired" by the Anthony Weiner scandal last spring. 

Whatever its original purpose, SnapChat could definitely come in handy in a variety of different situations. It's free for iPhone, and there's an Android version on the way. And if you still feel the need to leave a more lasting impression, you can always send your texts the old fashioned way — but of course, let the sender beware!

Follow tech-life expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.