the things they take in, pt 4: snapchat

As I have said in previous blog posts, technology and media keep changing. But despite this change and upgrade, the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes still hold true,

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

There is nothing new under the sun. Which is hard for us to comprehend because the iPhone5s has to be different and better than the iPhone 5 … because it has a s stuck on to the end of it. But let’s be honest with ourselves. There is nothing new under the sun. Just better versions of the the same thing.

If you have never read the book of Ecclesiastes, I highly encourage it (1). To summarize it, Solomon was king of Jerusalem and he performed a social-science experiment where he took all of his resources (Forbes estimated his modern day worth to be $256 B.B.B.Billion) and said “I’m going to see where the meaning of life is found.” So, he throws huge festivals and parties, he eats good food and drinks the best drinks; he marries (hundreds of women), he has sex (with even more women), he has children, he builds houses, monuments, the temple,  he works hard as king and he comes to this conclusion that all is vanity and nothing is new under the sun.

It’s an amazing reality that Solomon comes to because he searches out life to find purpose and meaning and fulfillment in everything under the sun (this phrase is the cornerstone of the entire book) at a greater level than you and I could ever understand and says, “Eh… there is nothing new.”

So, time to get real. Most of you probably don’t have Snapchat nor know what it is. So, check out the minute video put out by the BBC

But I truly believe that it is the most perilous applications out there today. 

Here are some of the reasons why:

One) Snapchat is built on a few lies. The first is that a picture is only visible for a few seconds (between 1-10) Well, previously, you could take a screenshot of a picture and it would be saved on your phone, so a picture doesn’t have to vanish. It did notify the other person when the screenshot did happen, but now that feature is gone. Also, there is the option to “replay” the picture, which means any picture or video can be viewed a second time one a day. Not only that, but everything is saved on servers and can be found and used without your knowledge. Everything posted is public.

Two) Snapchat has an intended target. And you as a parent are not one of them. Recently, the software updated with features like filters and emoticons, making it feel a whole lot like instagram without the openness to it. Type in to google, click on images and you can clearly see the marketing of Snapchat is towards young females. Why you ask?

Three) Snapchat was created to sext. The creators of Snapchat (Stanford Graduates) are currently in court over who created Snapchat, and emails were shown between the creators that it was created as a way to sext. The lie says, “I can set a limit on who can see a picture of me and for how long … it can’t be that bad to be a little flirtatious and sexual.” You may use it innocently, but it was created and intended for sexting to be easy.

Four) You, as a parent, can’t really control it. If you give your son or daughter a smart phone with unlimited internet, they will be asked to download and use Snapchat. It isn’t downhill from there, but because it is so quick and simple, it makes it fun for them because there is a perception of freedom and independence. Even if you take their phone at night, you can’t see what they see. You don’t know what they sent out.

Five) Snapchat is perceived to be new and awesome. And I’m going to be honest with you: For some reason, even in my use of it, it is! I can take a picture and draw a beautiful “snapster piece” and send it out and it’s seems fun. But as Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun.

Solomon was right. Even though Snapchat seems new and exciting, it isn’t. It is based off the same lies we find everywhere else in the world. Snapchat feels like it is safe, fun, and innocent, but those are the lies that mask the reality. It’s created to exploit, it’s intended to sext, and it’s not so private.

At Youth Group, we’ve been talking about culture and how we as Christians are called to live in culture but discern culture through grace. The Gospel says that in Christ we are free, but in our freedom, not all things are beneficial. So, by Grace, we are called to discern either to Receive, Reject, or Redeem things.

I think Snapchat is one of those things that can’t be Redeemed. I’ve been trying to use it for good, but I can’t do it anymore. I can’t be an advocate of Snapchat anymore.

So, I’m deleting my Snapchat account.

Parents, please. Talk to your teenagers about this. Lead them well. Build them up. Help them grow in understanding of the Gospel and of Grace.

(1) – But don’t just read it and be done with it. I am an advocate for reading through books of the Bible with aid or assistance. It is good to be reading through the Word of God by yourself, but it is helpful to also hear the Word (that you just read and studied) be taught and expounded well. Matt Chandler, Pastor of The Village Church in Texas, has a great sermon series on the book of Ecclesiastes . I encourage you to read through the book and listen to some of his sermons to help you better understand it. A lot of us commute to work. What would happen if instead of listening to music or sports talk radio, we listened to another sermon once a week to help us better understand the scripture? Where would we be in our faith because of this practice?

For more information about Snapchat, read this article.