GameSkinny

Nintendo Discontinues SwapNote Service Because of Child Porn

SwapNote is a thing of the past because people are terrible

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A few days ago Nintendo shut down their service SwapNote. Available since 2011, the feature allowed 3DS users to send pictures, photos and doodles to other 3DS users around the globe. Led by the mascot Nikki, SwapNote was designed to be a fun, adorable way of connecting with friends similar to SnapChat for iPhone but with more drawings.

Unfortunately, like SnapChat, people succeeded in exploiting SwapNote for pervy reasons. Specifically, child predators were using the system to receive naked pictures of young girls. Apparently this was not an isolated incident as there are several reports of grown men luring children to hotel rooms via SwapNote. Enough people were using the service for lewd behaviors the Nintendo decided to cancel it all together.

I can't say I disagree with Nintendo's decision. If a service is being used by child predators then that service shouldn't exist. I think it's absolutely shameful that a service like this, which was designed to be cutesy and fun, was being used for such a vile purpose. Unfortunately, that's the world we live in. Without regulation, every technology gets exploited beyond it's intended purpose (Chatroulette anyone?).

Don't get me wrong, I think it's sad that Nintendo was forced to make this decision. That doesn't mean it wasn't the right decision to make. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments.

Originally Published Nov. 7th 2013

Columnist

My name is Steve. I consider myself a casual gamer but lover of nerd culture. Things interest me I don't even understand half the time.



Comments
  • 5
    BlitzzFrank 9 months ago
    Featured Contributor
    What upsetd me is that nintendo shut the whole thing down... they should have just rolled out some kind of age verification / stronger parental controls so that those of us who were enjoying the software appropriately aren't hindered by the dirtbags.
    It very much feels like a 'class punishment' for one student's behavior :P
  • 30
    Steve Lawton 9 months ago
    Columnist
    I mean anyone over the age of 13 knows how to bypass an age verification system. Parental controls I could absolutely get behind but I think Nintendo felt instituting and monitoring such a system was more trouble than SwapNote was worth.

    The class punishment is a great analogy though. It leaves us all saying "BUT I DIDNT DO ANYTHING!"
  • 56
    Stephanie Tang 9 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    I can't disagree, but my disappointed face. :/
  • 39
    Max Jay 9 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    You can't disagree... but I'm sure you're disappointed you SAVAGE!
  • 1
    Barney Rubble 9 months ago
    "If a service is being used by child predators then that service shouldn't exist."

    Well, that settles it. Time to shut down the internet and get rid of cell phones.
  • 30
    Steve Lawton 9 months ago
    Columnist
    I've been saying this for years... Thanks for agreeing with me!
  • 36
    Ryan Kerns 9 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    I think most responsible parents should also keep their children off the internet... simply don't give out your wifi router password. The 3DS/2DS works just fine offline.
  • 39
    Max Jay 9 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    Eh - I think the internet is fine providing there's a parental net there. Just have the child make their own user name on the computer and block the potentially harmful material.

    Easy peasy.
  • 30
    Steve Lawton 9 months ago
    Columnist
    I mean it's tough keeping a 12 year old off the internet. At that age they're learning to explore the world and the internet will be a huge part of that.

    The problem is SwapNote was this kids only cutesy system that most adults would never think other adults would be on. Just that niche os child predators flooded it and ruined it. I can't really blame parents on this one.
  • 36
    Ryan Kerns 9 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    Sure it's going to be tough on them... but it's taking the time to know your kid. Some kids mature faster and if you trust their judgement they can earn their privileges... but if you just drop your kid in front of a screen for hours at a time as a free babysitter... expect there will be consequences. My 12 year old nephew has had an X-box 360 for 3 years and he's never been allowed on X-Box Live... he's perfectly fine with playing Viva Pinata offline.
  • 30
    Steve Lawton 9 months ago
    Columnist
    I agree with you 100%. Parents absolutely need to know their child and monitor what they're doing on the internet. A TV screen shouldn't be raising you child. There is no way I'd let my 9 year old go onto Xbox Live at all (With all the racists and such, no chance).

    I don't think eliminating the internet all together is the right way to go either. At some point, they have to experience it as long as you feel comfortable with their mental capabilities (i can't think of a nicer way of phrasing that but I know there is) at whatever point in their lives they're at.

    SwapNote seemed innocent enough. It's not Call of Duty with a bunch of drunk college kids screaming at one another. I would think SwapNote would be a good jumping off point for introducing the internet and online capabilities to kids. It's a shame it became what it did. I just don't know I blame parents on this one.
  • 36
    Ryan Kerns 9 months ago
    Featured Columnist
    fair enough... and there are plenty of kid friendly online games like Wizarding 101, Pokemon X/Y, and so on that are designed in a way to deter child predators... but it seems a deranged mind will always find a way.