Off the Cuff: Snapchat

Wow! Hayden and I have been blown away by the number of questions that came in after our Off the Cuff introduction video where we invited you to submit questions related to issues you are facing with your tweens and teens. We currently have 62 questions we are weeding through! Many of them overlapped and dealt with the same theme, so we’re in the process of organizing them into categories.

Before we dive-in with our first episode, I forgot to mention on the introduction post to subscribe to this blog (upper right hand corner) and you will be notified by email when we post a new Off the Cuff episode. I will also be posting a link on my Facebook author page when we post a new episode, so hop on over and “like” the page if you want to get notifications on Facebook (FB link on right margin of this blog).

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 7.31.28 PMWe thought we’d kick off our very first Off the Cuff episode by talking about Snapchat. We got numerous questions related to the app and felt it deserved it’s own session rather than clumping it into a general discussion about other social networking platforms popular among tweens/teens. We’ll be talking about Instagram in a later episode and specifically how the number of followers/likes/comments emotionally affects your tweens/teens.

In this episode, Hayden reacts to the problem of girls sending boys sexually explicit pictures through Snapchat, many in response to boys asking (begging) for them. (Yep, these are church kids, folks!) I think you might be surprised by his answer to a very specific question I posed to him toward the end of the clip (I know I was!):

“If Hayden Courtney was a dad today, and you had a middle schooler or high schooler and they were begging you for snapchat, what would you say?”

Also, please know this episode ran a bit longer than we had hoped. We’re hoping to trim these sessions down in the future, since we know you are very busy and your time is valuable. However, this is important stuff, so we didn’t want to leave anything out.

Other questions we have answered and will be posting in the coming weeks:

“My college aged son was just hospitalized for drinking too much. How should we discipline him? We live out of town.”

“What’s your perspective on aggressive girls — girls who pursue/chase boys, initiate text messages, etc.?”

“How and when should I begin the conversation with my children about sex and the dangers of porn?”

Special thanks to Hayden who edited the clip (in a fraction of the time it would have taken me!) and added the fun intro feature. Also, I have good news! It looks like other members of my family will be participating in some of the future Off the Cuff sessions (at your request)! We felt some of your questions would be great to have a girl’s perspective, so we’ll be asking my daughter (Paige) and daughter-in-law (Casey) for their input on some of the questions. We are working on Ryan, my oldest son. He is not a fan of being on camera, so we are working on a fair bribery to entice him to participate. :)

So, what are YOUR thoughts about Snapchat? Let’s begin the conversation on this post. Please be respectful of one others’ opinions and season your comments with grace. Remember, what works for one family, may not work for another.

Thank you for stopping by!


  1. says

    Thank you so much for this. With technology constantly changing it is hard to keep up with everything and be an informed parent. This was great insight. I have an eleven year old daughter so at this age we have chosen to just go with no. I appreciate sharing this from both your points of view.

  2. Jenifer Johnson says

    Vicki!!!! Love you!!!! Thank you for this Snapchat talk. My kids have been so influenced by your ministry. One is now married and has made me a granny already. Let’s hear it for the blessing of getting to to young grandmothers!!!! My next daughter is graduating this year and my sweet baby daughter just entered kindergarten!!! God gave us her through adoption. We are in an open adoption and love her birthmom who lives in Texas. You are doing an event at our church, Johnson Ferry Baptist. I would love to meet you and hug your neck for doing Yada Yada all those years ago.

  3. Mary says

    I’m 22 years old and I know if I was a middle schooler in today’s world I would be BEGGING for an iPhone. However, I really don’t see why a middle schooler needs any kind of smart phone. They don’t drive so they don’t need the GPS and any app they would need for homework could be accessed on their parents’ phone/tablet or computer.

  4. Sandie says

    My husband and I are fully aware of the dangers of technology. We don’t want our children to not be in the know…but at the same time we want to keep them from the dangers that go along with that. We have allowed our children regular cell phones with an unlimited texting packages (which we monitor often and they know we will monitor it randomly), but they are not allowed an iphone or anything where they can have unfettered access to the internet. Of course, they have computer time which gives them internet access (which again is closely monitored), but we don’t allow them to have Facebook or any other social media at their ages either (15 and 12). We have discussed with them how easy it is to get into trouble while using the internet and how once something enters into the eye gate, that image is in your mind and hard to erase. Now that isn’t to say that we haven’t had our fair share of issues with regular texting. We have had a number of young ladies (who are just a year older than our oldest son) send him some sexting type messages. We have informed the young ladies that if they continue to send these types of message we will be informing their parents. The blessing of living in a small town! :) Of course, that always seems to deter the inappropriate texting. We want to thank you both for addressing these issues. It is a blessing to godly young men be an example for others to follow. :)

  5. Esther says

    Thanks, Hayden…for your honest and frank response! After having this discussion with some teen & college-age guys, I think there’s something else to consider:

    1. The girls already promote their sexuality by constantly posting bikini & other ‘almost naked’ selfies on instagram, snapchat, vine, etc. This is just a continuation of what previously occurred with sexting via pic messages on cell phones. That said…

    2. Guys know who to ask! Really, they do! Of course they’ll ask girls who have already posted bikini shots, or shots of them kissing their boyfriends, kissing other girls, etc. It doesn’t matter whether the girl is a ‘Christian’ (attends youth group, church, doesn’t swear or drink)…guys know who to ask!

    When Vicki talks about taking the ‘training wheels’ approach to technology – she is absolutely on target! If parents aren’t going to ‘stalk’/monitor their children’s technology use, just don’t let them use it.

    Girls must take equal responsibility in the battle against sin in this area. Dressing modestly and remembering that guys are ‘visual’ should be a constant conversation with our teen girls…along with reminding them that when they post photos of themselves showing ‘skin’ they are just inviting men (boys and grown men, too) to sin. I use this simple equation: SKIN=SIN. That puts it all in perspective and creates no room for debate. This is not because we encourage prudish, legalistic behavior…we just want to protect both our daughter and the guys she comes in contact with (including ‘old guys’ who are her dad’s age!).

  6. Cindy says

    Oh wow- I love both you and Hayden! It’s so great to have a sharp,good looking,”normal”,
    guy talking to young women in a conservative way about technology. I have two girls. One is 18 and we just dropped her off at Baylor University where she is a Freshman and one more who is 12 ( 13 in two months) . I remember taking my oldest to your Yada Yada conference in Houston at Sagemont when she was 12. It was such a blessing and so great to have someone talking to the girls about dressing modestly, and coming up with cute ,cool, outfits to give as ideas and not wrapping them up to their nose in scarves and turtlenecks! :)LOL!
    Just about two weeks ago I finished going through “Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter” , with my oldest. We have gone through it slowly over about a year or so-just because it was hard to find a good time with her the last two years. She went to public high school and was very involved with the dance team, and it was hared to find a good time alone with her. Jr. High and High School,were very difficult times for a Godly young woman hanging out with the dance team, cheerleaders and football players at a public HS and standing up for beliefs and faith. I admit I was amazed at the level of partying that goes on, even though I was around it in HS too. It’s truly worse now though and sex is a big part of it. We have been through Facebook issues, texting issues, and while “snapchat “and “vine” just started this past year (her Sr. Year) , yes, all her friends had ‘snapchat’ and ‘vine’ as well, she only had one issue once with “Snapchat”. Her guy friends who aren’t christians all know her and know us and 95% of the time are respectful of her (they aren’t completely perfect ,but we, her parents, have made an effort to get to know them personally, and they all know her daddy hunts and has a gun!:):):) He’s also a pastor.) Thankfully we are blessed with a very beautiful, normal, girl inside and out, who talks to me a lot, but I have sat and talked her through many crying sessions over the years of not being able to do everything everyone else is doing ,when they are doing it and sometimes even losing friendships because of it.
    We have had many conversions and “lectures”, as she calls them, about Facebook,texting,
    and social media in general. My husband and I have always monitored her phone and computer use. We have always had the computer in the kitchen and she had to use it there until her Senior year and then she did get her own computer and we put Safe Eyes
    protection software on it and we still had her keep the bedroom door open most of the time if she was using it in there.(just for accountability) She also always had to bring her phone down to us at night, and she knew we occasionally might check her texting and that did prompt several conversations as well. because of this, we didn’t even have to “train” our younger daughter to do this-she just started doing it on her own when we got her a phone. The time would vary over the years, but usually is needed to be down by 9-10;30. On the weekend maybe a little later. Yes- every year there are new social media ideas being implemented and it is very had as a parent to keep up! We have to though and parents, please don’t give up on parenting because it’s too hard! They need us as much in Jr.High and HS as they did in elementary school, just in a different way.
    I am now starting down this road again with a new teenage girl- she will be 12 in October
    and instead of just Facebook,we will have several different social media avenues to negotiate with her. Instagram seems to be the biggest thing right now among her peers, but oddly enough she doesn’t want one yet. She’s pretty mature for her age and I think she’s seen some of the drama that stuff caused for her sister with some her friends and she likes to avoid drama.
    Both girls have always had these two verses up on their mirrors or in their room- ” Whatever is true,whatever is noble, whatever is right,whatever is pure,whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable….if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things!”
    “Above all else,guard your heart for it affects everything you do.”
    Please keep ‘fighting the good fight” with your books and videos Vicki!:) I need them for my second daughter! Thanks so much to Hayden to for being willing to step out and share his opinion in a very public way. I’ll pray for protection over him from any possible persecution.
    I emailed my college daughter to watch your video and plan to sit and watch it with my 12 yr.old. :):)

  7. Kim says

    I think this is a wonderful forum for parents who don’t know about all the different social media available today. I have a son now 18 and a daughter almost 15 and have always monitored their texting and social media. I am a proud “stalker mom” It is so important to listen to your kids and pay attention to what they are doing and ask questions. My daughter is always taking wierd and funny pictures of herself and I always ask what she’s doing. I have an instagram and facebook but I also have my daughters passwords to her other accounts such as twitter. Our youth has a misguided feeling of security when behind their computers and phones. They don’t realized that once they hit send or enter or post that it is now out there forever. Vine is one of the newer apps and it is video. It is so disturbing to see what some kids think is funny and appropriate for puplic viewing. It is also distressing to see how mean some people are to others behind the safety of a computer. Kids are getting bullied like never before and harmful lies are spread at viral speeds over the internet. If you do allow your kids on any of these sites you have to be diligent about checking them. You’ll be amazed and what you find out and learn about your kids and their friends. I’ve had some proud moments and not so proud moments over things my daughter has said online, but I have also used these things to open communication and talk about issues with my daughter. Thank you for providing this blog I will be following you. :)

  8. says

    A) Y’all are hilarious! 2) Thanks for explaining what snapchat is. I’d heard of it but didn’t know what it was. 3) Hayden – thanks for speaking the truth of your gut feeling even though it may be an unpopular opinion. D) The training wheels example has always stuck with me and I’ve been able to use that same visual as an explanation for our decisions around technology with my 12 year old daughter.

    It is so easy to be lazy about monitoring and checking into what she’s doing. She’s a good kid, afterall. However, I am reminded by either something I see or information like this to be vigilant.

  9. Christie says

    I have sons in the pre-middle school years. Inching closer daily! Thanks for opening these discussions & Hayden (for sharing your viewpoint). I have a son who has amazing…really quite unbelievable…visual memory. I am COMPLETELY aware that his brain processes differently than mine does….or even my more verbally astute children. He has a huge gift that allows him to remember visual details that I never notice & also he draws in a way that puts my stick figures to shame. It’s amazing to me! He might even have a photographic memory while *I* would be a horrible eyewitness because I am far more likely to remember what I hear better than what I see. THIS kind of subject really and truly fills me with such a protective instinct, particularly because of his nature & visual memory. I think I’d have to say no for our home on the app. I did not even know it existed!! These are things we really need to know. I hope no with a loving explanation gets us somewhere. My almost 11 year old is SO reasonable at the moment. Even when he doesn’t like an answer we give him at times, he currently *gets* it & understands that we know things he does not. I wonder how long this reasonable nature will continue. I’m excited about the next stages for my guys & a little shaky as well!! These messages you send resonate though, so thanks!!!

  10. Michelle says

    I really appreciate you both doing this for us. I wanted to offer a suggestion on snapchat, maybe allow kids to snap friends of the same sex only. For instance, my daughter would only be allowed to have girls in her snapchat addresses. Also, they are only allowed to snap when you are present. My 17 year old uses my iPhone to snap her friends. I’m very leery of apps like this because of the way the devil corrupts everything and especially something that could be really fun. We all need to help each other with ideas that work and pray for each other as we raise this techno generation.

  11. says

    Thank you so much for this “Off The Cuff” series! As a Pastor’s Wife and Women’s Ministry leader I can appreciate the sweetness that if you and your “baby” doing this series together. As a ministry leader, I am THRILLED to be able to share this with the women and families in my church family. As a mama of two teenage boys, well…this is another great discussion for us to have. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

  12. Jennifer says

    Thanks so much for sharing! I love that Hayden is giving us his perspective! We recently discovered snapchat on our 16 yr old daughters phone, she explained to us what it was and why people used it but I came to the same conclusion as Hayden as WHY? Just text your friends the pics if there is nothing to hide! We have since decided our girls (17 and 14 iphone users) are NOT allowed to have this app! (One less thing to monitor!) It’s a struggle to know what to allow and what not too, I appreciate your honest and Biblical perspective on these issues! I went through the 5 Converstations with my girls but feel now that they are older and facing more temptations now that we need to revisit the study! Thanks for your ministry! Looking forward to more “off the cuff” discussions! Would love to hear one about teen dating, what to allow and what not too! That’s what we are dealing with now!……Please pray for us!

  13. Kristi S says

    I love these videos! Hayden is so cute interacting with you. I love the raw honesty from both of you all. I look forward to more of the college questions to be answered.

  14. Leah says

    Just finished reading both posts and the comments. first-I’m so relieved that so many others are struggling with the same issues I am praying over daily. I have a 15 yr old son and 13 year old daughter- both in Christian private schools and the technology battle is fierce. Girls texting non- stop at all hours (had to demand technology be turned in at night); girls being aggressive with comments and pushing the relationship.

    They use technology for everything- school, sports communications, church communications, scheduling with my husband and I- so removing or limiting technology is not the answer– teaching them how to use it responsibly is the answer and avoiding the wrong apps!

    thanks so much for doing this — will be following

  15. says

    Totally loved watching this. And such an interesting topic, especially since I had just read this in the past week, which was totally eye-opening:

    Specifically, “Even though their marketing copy says they don’t… their terms of service say that they do store it AND they have the right to sell that information as an asset to the company which they can sell. (See Usage Data on their terms of service. Also look at the language in their privacy policy: “We cannot guarantee that deletion always occurs within a particular timeframe.” ”

    Makes me shudder for these kids who are sending compromising photos.

  16. Bronwyn Toles says

    Your ministry has been a huge part of our lives. I took my now 16 year old daughter to a Mom/daughter event you hosted in Dallas. She was 11 at the time. I am extremely thankful to have had your wisdom through blogs and books. It is not easy navigating through the teenage years. I think we all need all the help we can get. God has definitely set your family apart for “such a time as this”. Thanks to you and Hayden! Both my daughters and I just sat down to watch the video together.

  17. Natalie says

    Thanks Hayden for your honesty!! Loved it!! My daughter attends CPHS and is a cheerleader there. I am SO thankful that you are investing in those students! Years ago my life was radically changed because someone invested in me when I was in high school. Be assured you are making a HUGE difference!

  18. Lori Nolte says

    Great information about snapchat. As a parent of a teenage girl I must say I am getting frustrated at the lack of responsibility the parents of sons are taking. I monitor and discuss photos and social media. I’m sure the majority of these pictures are sent on request. Why is it the primary responsibility of the girl to be respectful? Isn’t asking for these pictures just as bad as sending? We argue about modesty and dressing to respect your body, however, she feels the guys only give attention the girls that dress provocative. Parents if your son keeps getting these pics and hanging out with aggressive girls I’d stop pointing the finger and take a look at your son. What is he doing to draw these girls to him. For those parents that are aware their boys aren’t perfect and working to teach them to respect girls; I have a beautiful 15 year old girl dreaming of an old fashion guy to show her repspect.

  19. Carrie Tatum says

    Thank you Vicki and Hayden so much. Parents are looking the other way and not protecting their kids. Thanks for being REAL and trying to help parents in this tough technological generation.

    God Bless!

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