Why Parents Shouldn’t Be Scared of Snapchat

Keeping up with the tech world is not easy. 

I consider myself to be a an “early adopter” of most new social media apps. I try to join quickly when a new one comes out and see if there is a place for it in my life or ministry. Some of those I have tried, some I’ve fallen in love with and others I’ve ended up ditching (like Periscope). There are some I hold onto because everyone is doing it, though not my favorite (such as Facebook).

But then there are some apps and platforms that just take me awhile to get my mind around. I don’t like them and I don’t hate them, I just don’t know what to do with them. Snapchat was one of those. I joined it a long time ago but didn’t know what to do with it. I had even added and deleted the app a few times because I just wasn’t sure. A few months ago, I decided I needed to be more diligent to understand it.

The stats for Snapchat are mindblowing! As many videos were watched on Snapchat as on Facebook in the last month. I see people on it all the time (especially young people and millennials—of who I have a passion to reach), so I gave it a shot (again). Much to my surprise, I really like it.

Snapchat is great for: 

  • Have some laughs with the funny filters (my kids love that!)
  • Share a 10-second video message
  • Sending a quick funny picture to someone
  • Sharing a picture of your kids you don’t want all over the web
  • Being quick to share something
Face Swap with my daughter!

Face Swap with my daughter!

I don’t “overthink” my snaps. I just shoot, post for all, or send to an individual and I it only takes a second. I am not putting the amount of thought I put into my facebook posts or Instagram. Maybe that is because I know that they are only seen for a few seconds and gone (from the timeline) in 24 hours.

Are there bad uses for Snapchat? Of course. It was known as the “sexting” app for awhile, but let’s be honest—any app can be used for sexting or wrong purposes if you want it to be. A-n-y app.

My friend, Mike, does a great job in the above video sharing some things parents and dad’s should know about Snapchat. So if you want to know how to be more intentional with this app:

  1. Join Snapchat yourself.
  2. Watch Mike’s video (above) and check out his site, Techdads.com

The best advice I can give to keep Snapchat “safe” with your kids (or yourself) is:

  • Do not add everyone that adds you. There are some shady, scandalous creatures out there (but I’ve gotten them on Facebook too) who decide it is their mission to show you more of their skin. Don’t just accept everyone.
  • If you are really concerned, set a time to sit with your teen to go through who has “added them” and who they are “adding.” Make a rule that you won’t add anyone you don’t know.

Mike has also created a great help sheet to understand Snapchat quickly:

So here’s to safe snapping. I think this can be a great way to share life and the gospel in a world where the Gospel is not often shared. I strive to be as missional as possible with my social media. My mission statement for all my platforms is to post “For the glory of God and the Joy of His people.”

Join me on Snapchat by searching the username joshweidmann.

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