Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

A Dad’s Perspective: What it’s actually like to use Snapchat:

Read this article by Todd Yarrow on what it's really like to use Snapchat as a dad.
By Expert Tips
Date: March 27 2020
Editor Rating:
Snap

No platform is immune to the anti-social media hysteria. sometimes it seems like every other day we’re inundated with another social media horror story.

Although I’m sure the headlines are very real (albeit sensational!), I see my kids communicating online and, despite my personal worry, they seem normal, healthy, and happy. So, as my then 18 and 21-year-old girls continued to avoid my old-school texts and calls, I thought it was time to take action and see what the hype was all about.

Taking the lead from Reese Witherspoon, this mid-50s suburban dad waded into unchartered territory and joined Snapchat. After figuring out just how to download the app, create a profile and a mini-me Bitmoji, the experiment began.

I quickly realised that Snapchat is not all nude pics and narcotics, but a way I can chat with my kids in a medium that they actually liked. Here’s what I’ve learned as a Snapchat dad for almost five years:

There are no strangers following me on Snapchat 

Other social media platforms (including the ones I use!) allow you to have a public profile. Strangers can follow you or like your posts by default, unless you switch your account to private.

I noticed when signing up to Snapchat that the default setting is “Friends Only”. This means that you have to approve each and every friend before they are able to send you Snaps or view your stories.

I asked my girls about this and was quickly met with a, “Yeah, you only use Snapchat to talk to your real friends.” I guess my bad, right!? But it was nice to join a platform that bucks the public profile in favour of communication with people you already know. 

Snaps feel authentic (even with dog ears)

When I started using Snapchat, I realised the Snaps shared didn’t feel like your typical social media content. There was no pressure to post the perfect pic. Instead, the Snaps I sent and received felt more natural – like we were communicating in the moment, opposed to sharing something “perfect” for the world to see.

Snapchat allows me to embrace my inner daggy dad. Better yet, my daughters don’t cringe (at least too much!) at my doggy-eared or rainbow-tongue selfies.

I quickly learned that a Snap can tell 1,000 words. I am given access to the girls’ workplaces, brunchings, friends, even, sometimes, partners. Even more peculiarly, my entrance to their private sphere is welcomed.

I also love Snap Maps! It gives me a sense of security that I can check in on where my daughters are, with their consent. It’s not so much stalking as pride for them going to work, attending university, travelling and living their lives. It’s also kind of cool, that when I am on the train to work, my little Bitmoji also wears headphones! 

It’s not all funny videos! Snapchat is actually informative.

There is something oddly addictive about Snapchat’s video content. A glorious mess of newsbites, pimple popping snippets, celebrity interviews and funniest home videos. My train ride to work has become a mix of podcasting and scrolling through the Discover feed.

I recently came across a two minute rundown titled “Coronavirus: Here’s What You Need To Know”. I then found myself in a rabbit hole learning about the Democractic presidential candidates. I’m not saying I love all the content (I don’t really care for cat videos and celebrity gossip), but I was surprised Snap could be informative. From CNN to CNBCNews to News.com.au, there are some strong names to keep me coming back for more.

So there you have it – one dad’s successful journey into the elusive world of Snapchat with his kids. The weirdest part is, I think I love it just as much as my daughters!

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