Should Christians be using Snapchat?
We look at the positives and negatives of using Snapchat to help you decide if it's right for you.
Snapchat is one of the most popular social networking tools for teens and young adults. The image and video sharing app has over 100 million daily users. But for all its popularity, Snapchat has a bit of a bad reputation.
The photos and videos that users share with their friends only appear for a few seconds before they disappear, apparently forever. This has made the app popular with those who want to send explicit images of themselves or others.
Because of Snapchat’s reputation, many have asked whether it is appropriate for Christian teens to use this app. I want to present a case for both sides of the argument today.
Why Christians shouldn’t use Snapchat
There are many reasons why a Christian teen may choose not to use Snapchat. Firstly, if you’re under the age of 13, you shouldn’t be on Snapchat – that’s the age limit they’ve set. Also, if your parents say you’re not allowed, then what they say goes. Delete the app.
Secondly, Christians must not use Snapchat to share explicit or inappropriate content. There is no circumstance in which it is appropriate to send a nude pic of yourself to a friend, and it is actually illegal in many places. For example, in Australia sending an inappropriate picture of yourself or another person under 18 could get you in big trouble with the law for producing and distributing child pornography! Also, when you use Snapchat, you open yourself up to the possibility of people sending inappropriate content to you without your consent. You should always be aware of this possibility and tell a trusted adult if something disturbing comes your way.
Thirdly, Christians shouldn’t use Snapchat to take pictures of people without their permission. It might be funny to take a photo of a friend sleeping with their mouth open at a sleepover and sending it to all of your friends, but is that a loving thing to do? You might see someone who looks like a celebrity on the train but taking a picture of them without their permission and distributing is, in many places, against the law. Christians must respect others and the laws of the society they live in.
Fourthly, Christians should not use Snapchat as a replacement for more in-depth, meaningful forms of communication. While it’s fun to send short videos or disappearing photos to your friends, it’s very difficult to have a meaningful conversation over Snapchat. If you find yourself communicating via Snapchat more than through actual conversation, it might be time to wind back on your use of the app.
Why Christians may still use Snapchat
Despite all it's potential problems, there are also good reasons why a Christian teen might choose to use Snapchat. Firstly, it’s fun! It can be a lot of fun to play with the filters and send a picture of yourself with dog ears to your friends. Sure it’s not especially meaningful or important in the scheme of things, but Christians are allowed to have fun and enjoy life.
Secondly, you may find a way to use Snapchat to really encourage your Christian brothers and sisters! I’ve heard of people that use it to send Bible verses and prayer points to each other for quick bites of encouragement and to ask for prayer. This is a great use of Snapchat!
Thirdly, plenty of non-Christians are on Snapchat. If you also have a Snapchat account, you may be able to form stronger relationships with the non-Christians around you. I’m not saying “do what they do” on Snapchat in order to fit in, but if you choose to use Snapchat, use it for God’s glory and seek to build relationships that will allow you to share the gospel.
So, what’s the result? Should Christians use Snapchat or not?
Well, I personally think that as long as you are aware of the risks, have parental permission, know who your contacts are, and are over 13, Snapchat is totally fine. But you may feel differently. You may feel that given Snapchat’s reputation, it would be hypocritical for you to use it. Or you may feel that exposing yourself to the risk of inappropriate content is unwise.
Many people will have different opinions on this topic, and that’s ok! What’s important is that you consider how best you personally can glorify God. If being on Snapchat will stop you from glorifying God to the best of your ability, then it’s best to delete the app.