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Snapchat :: More Than Filters for Toddlers

Casual. Random. Spontaneous. Real. Unedited. Raw. Authentic.

That's the thing about Snapchat. When I asked a new group of friends if anyone used it, most said they thought it was just for exchanging nude photos. While I acknowledge that was a big part of the appeal when Snapchat was first released, now it's evolved into one of the most popular photo-sharing outlets that teenagers and adults alike, as well as bloggers and celebrities, have begun using to share a more authentic life. While I still use Instagram on the regular, I like how Snapchat is less scripted and staged, void of perfected editing, free from the societal pressures of portraying a "perfect" life, and doesn't keep track of "likes."

I know some people are confused by the concept, so here's a quick rundown on the disappearing photo app:

What you can do: Follow anyone you want and view their "story," post photos and videos in real time (taken with the in-app Snapchat camera), save to your phone, choose from a few enhancing filters, add a time, speed, or location stamp, include short captions, illustrate with a touch of a finger, speed up and slow down videos, reverse videos, send to the friends of your choosing and/or post to your story (visible to all of your friends), screenshot others' photos (it will notify them, though!), swipe left to reply or chat directly.

What you can't do: Perform edits in any form, post photos/videos taken previously (although in a recent update, you may upload from your camera roll within the "chat" function), zoom in on others' snaps, save others' snaps, "like" others' snaps, track how many times your snap is viewed, categorize with hashtags.

It's actually quite simple once you play around with it a time or two. Photos disappear within seconds, depending on how you set the timer (1-10 seconds), each friend has 1 replay (if the snap is sent to them directly), and snaps shared to your story can be viewed as many times as desired within a 24-hour period (but then they're gone forever!)

For those of you who are mothers of tweens/teens, don't automatically write if off as just a nude photo sharing app. I encourage you to look up research conducted by author and researcher of teenage girls, Rachel Simmons, who explains why Snapchat can be better for teens than other social media apps. Here is a very informative article in which Simmons gives an overview of her research on how Snapchat affects adolescent users.

While teenagers and young adults ages 16-24 make up the majority of Snapchat's global users, parents of any age can totally dominate the Snapchat game!

Ribbet collage

Shameless selfies

Because when you look good, it must be Snapchat documented (for approximately 6-8 seconds), lest anyone has enough time to scrutinize-- those under-eye circles are here to stay for the next 16 years.

Ugly selfies

Because when you don't look good, you can make an ugly face and send it to select friends (for exactly 2 seconds) as fleeting photographic evidence of how your day's going.

What's for dinner

Because you're totally nailing the whole domestic goddess thing.

Ridiculous filters

Because who doesn't want to know what they look like as a dog, rabbit, cat, zombie, alien, sparkling witch, wearing a flower crown, or with their face swapped? Also, kids find this really entertaining, if you're ever in need of a semi-quiet distraction. These filters change regularly, often reflecting current events, holidays, upcoming movie releases, etc.

Snapchat collage

Gross occurrences

Because the whole world doesn't want to see that pile of poop your toddler "accidentally" left on the floor, but we all have that one friend who would get a kick out of it. The good thing, is, there will be no permanent evidence to gross you out later, since Snapchat doesn't save photos to your phone unless you choose to.

Annoying kid stuff

Because if you've been listening to Daniel Tiger's whiny voice all morning, reading the same book for the 25th time, watching your toddler throw a tantrum, or your living room is buried with toys, we all have fellow mom friends who would understand (and try to one-up you with their photo or video responses).

Adorable kid stuff

Because we all have adorable kids! Videos of your baby belly laughing, toddler having a messy lunch, kids running around playing outside-- post alllll the videos! We want a peek into what's going on in your life in that moment. It takes only seconds to snap a photo to your story and then you're back to enjoying life, in the moment.

Anything, really

Because whether it's an embarrassing amount of dog photos, a triumphant declaration of your daily workout, or even photos of you settling in with Netflix and a glass of wine at the end of the day, it's all fair game. It's all about documenting your life in an authentic way. So, basically, anything goes. Except nudes, of you or your kids. Just don't.

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