After Snapchat morphed from an ominous sexting app to one dominated by selfies of girls giving themselves triple chins and crazy eyes, it’s become a major mode of communication for my brother and me.
We update one another about our lives through artistic photos of our messy rooms, cooking food and of course expressions. He’s received many glaring chats about doing his homework, and I’ve received just as many angry faces urging me to get out of bed on the weekends.
The next step was assuring our parents this newfangled social medium wasn’t as creepy as they’d heard, and that’s a work in progress.
I made one for my mother last week, as a step forward in the process, and she enjoys snapping photos of recess or all the work she does during her planning period. I regale her with shopping trips and embarrassing photos of me in the morning.
She takes very parental selfies, when she chooses to send them, meaning her chin features strongly and there’s a half-screen of background above her forehead. Teaching her about flattering selfies is the next lesson.
My brother, on the other hand, is fond of sending me photos of the water heater, lawnmower or ceiling fan. So at least I know utilities at home aren’t an issue.
My father is another story. He doesn’t understand why we wouldn’t take normal photos and text them to one another. He also doesn’t get why you have to hold the screen, why the photos don’t last long and what the point is.
To contextualize, my father didn’t know less than three meant a heart until a couple weeks ago, and he’s still angry about how it’s sideways and not anatomically correct. He also doesn’t have his own Facebook account, although he does message me from my mother’s every so often.
I tried to explain that differently-emotioned selfies would take up space and not convey exactly what I wanted in the moment. Plus, sometimes you have to share a photo of real life, and taking that, saving it and sending it isn’t instantaneous.
He returned to his book, and a few minutes later asked me to explain it again, because he was sure it made sense somehow.
When I was younger at some dinner party, my parents ended up in a conversation about their decision to have kids so young. My father said he didn’t want to be outmoded, instead wanted to keep up with pop culture so he wouldn’t be confounded by our trends.
I’d give my parents a 10/10 so far, because they had more advanced phones and knew how to use them better than me until I bought my own and whose mother has a Snapchat? I also found out recently that our ability to communicate via Skype is a rare one among kids my age.
I count myself lucky. That is, until I send my mother an incriminating photo of the pigsty that is my kitchen by accident. (It’s not really, just using that for effect. It’s sparkling. I cleaned it yesterday. Trust me. You don’t need a photo.)