Saturday, October 12, 2019

Maude VS Snap Chat

Beware: Strong language and polarizing opinion about to be shared.  Read at your own peril.  Any viewpoints contradictory to those expressed in this opinion piece will not in any way, shape or form change the author’s opinions.  Additionally this piece is not meant to be judgmental or parent shaming.  We are all in this together and as such we should support each parent’s right to make choices for their own children.  Let’s be the adults we are supposed to be. Now, brace yourselves…

F!*k you, Snap Chat.  F!*k. You.   I know that we have never had a relationship, though we did experiment that one time.  I downloaded you onto my phone so I could see what the fuss was all about.  You were confusing, you made no sense and I could not understand the attraction.  I guess I’m over falling for the bad boys.

I deleted you within about 48 hours and because you were so hard to understand I vowed then not to allow my child access to something I myself couldn’t understand.  That was BEFORE I truly understood what a shady bastard you really are.

But really, f!*k you Snap Chat for even existing.  Facebook was bad enough, then we got Instagram which started out benign  but now it’s like a PG-13 version of you.  And the origins of Snap Chat were certainly not born of necessity, but purely a desire to prevent people from seeing things you don’t want them to see.  That’s what journals are for, people.

Personally, I liken Snap Chat and the tremendous pressure from society to join in as the proverbial cliff our parents warned us about.  Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean you should too.  If everyone jumped off a cliff, could you jump too?  Remember that? I do. 

Snap Chat IS that cliff that we, as parents, are not only letting our children jump off of, but ourselves as well.  Face it, if this stupid app had never been invented there wouldn’t be an argument about should you or shouldn’t you.

And I stand by the MYRIAD of facts and research that says SNAP CHAT IS HORRIBLE for teens (and I personally would argue for adults as well).  There are literally paid researchers who are constantly designing NEW ways to keep our children (and our society) addicted to these social media apps, and there are no worse ones than Snap Chat.  I stand by this statement 100%. Yes I have Facebook and Instagram (thanks a lot FOMO) but I’m drawing the line at Snap Chat for a million damn good reasons.

Everything I know about it, from it’s original concept of “make sure our communication disappears so no one can see it” to all the awesome features that make kids feel like their social status is 100% tied into an app, the strength of their friendships and their worth as a person revolve around streaks of “snaps” and the number of people who follow them, pressuring kids to allow people they don’t even know to follow them and snap. Um hello adult predator pretending to be a teen…..

And I haven’t even gotten into the normalizing of risky behavior.  Whether you want to believe it or not, social media but ESPECIALLY SNAP CHAT normalizes risky behavior.  When they see their friends engaging in risky behavior they think it is OK, it becomes the “every one is doing it mentality” and it NORMALIZES poor choices.  Snap Chat is the #1 place where kids SHOW they are engaging in risky behavior because in theory and mostly) PARENTS CANNOT SEE!!!!!

Case in point:  Last year in a very frank discussion with some parents about Snap Chat there were three moms.  One allowed it, and myself and the other do not. (That parent has since caved in along with most of the other mothers I knew who were in my camp).

The parent who allowed it went on to talk about how open she and her kid were and the rules they put to utilizing it and that she felt she could trust her kid.  Personally, at the time and still today, I don’t know how you can trust your kid with something you cannot see.  We all want to believe our children are good kids, and mostly they are.  But kids are kids and they can make poor choices.  It’s part of their evolution as humans.

Anyhoozer, at the end of the conversation I continued to stand my ground, it’s a decision I am not going to make, allowing my kid to have Snap Chat.  This parent then sent me an article the next day via email basically in a way (I felt) shaming me for my choice, under the guise of being “helpful”.

Guess what peeps.  Her wonderful child was caught vaping because she and her friends thought they were SAFE by SNAP CHATTING themselves while doing it.  Unfortunately for them, someone took a screen shot of the image and the rest is history.  It NORMALIZES RISKY BEHAVIOR.  I don’t need a research paper to tell me that.  The kids who were involved were, and still are GOOD KIDS.

You think your kid won’t snap or sext compromising photos?  Think again.  You would be surprised and the sad thing is, you won’t know about it because they use SNAP CHAT to do it.  And even if they don’t do it, their friends do so they ARE being exposed to things you might not want them to see.

Think your sweet angel isn’t pressuring his girlfriend to have sex?  Think again.  He’s not using his text app to do it, nope he’s using SNAP CHAT.

Time and time again I have been proven right that SNAP CHAT is terrible for teens.  I want to reiterate here that I AM NOT JUDGING YOU IF YOU HAVE MADE THIS CHOICE FOR YOUR CHILD.  I really hope it works out OK for you.  I do, pinky swear.

But I personally feel that we, as parents, are feeling the “peer pressure” to allow kids to have something they should not “because everyone is doing it”.  (remember my cliff analogy?)

Or because someday they will be out of the house and will be able to gain access to it then.  BUT GUESS WHAT?  When they are ADULTS their brains are better prepared to handle it.  Not well prepared, I don’t think any of us are, but BETTER prepared.

Teenagers brains are not fully developed, their impulse control isn’t always there, emotionally they are all over the place and they don’t have the confidence to navigate the ups and downs of social media. 

And I have had many people say that I need to show my kid how to handle adult situations on social media now before they are out of the house and have all the access they want.  For me, personally, that logic doesn’t fly.  I know my kids will experiment with alcohol someday.  I don’t support, approve or endorse it.  Someday they will be in college (or heck still in high school) and they will drink underage.  Just because at some point they will have access to it, does that mean I should start serving them at home and teaching them how to drink responsibly? 

I feel very strongly that they main reasons people give for why I should let my kid join in are totally bogus:

1.       Everyone is doing it. (there’s that old familiar cliff).
a.       INSTEAD why doesn’t everyone just stop allowing it?  Why do I have to let my kid do something I know is bad just because everyone else does (which I assure you not everyone does….)
2.       You should teach her to be responsible with it now so she knows how to use it later.
a.       I’ve given her Instagram.  She can’t use something I can monitor responsibly so why would I give her unfettered access to something I can’t monitor?
3.       She’s being exposed to this stuff anyway, so it’s not like you can control it.
a.       Actually, I can.  I can MINIMIZE her exposure to risky behavior by NOT allowing her 24/7 access to teenagers and their poor choices. 
b.      Yes, she is exposed,  I don’t disagree. But I am the parent, I can do what I can to minimize it.

There are plenty of kids who use Snap Chat who are good kids, but it doesn’t mean every kid they are associated with through the app are like-minded remember that.  And no matter what, you really cannot every effectively see or know what they are sharing on that app unless you sit next to them 24/7 and watch. Which is impossible.

My last frustration with Snap Chat is there are literally NO parental controls that can effectively monitor it.  NO PARENTAL CONTROLS.  And I know so many parents who judge me to using parental controls.  But I AM A PARENT, so it’s my JOB to do what I can to keep my kid safe, happy and healthy.

If a genie appeared in front of me today and asked for one wish to be granted, honestly I would wish that Snap Chat had never been, and would never be invented.  Ask yourself what good can come from a method of communication that is 100% designed to disappear and be untraceable.  Why would anyone want to use it unless there was something they didn’t want you to see.  PERIOD.

In conclusion, F!*K YOU SNAP CHAT.  Your very existence on this earth is causing a huge rift in my relationship with my children and their relationships with others.  We should not have to rely on a smart phone app for our friendships to bloom.  PERIOD.