President Obama has been getting plenty of headlines lately for his sharp one-liners trolling Donald Trump and his use of social media. But he’s revealed that daughter Sasha got one back on him – by mocking the First Dad on Snapchat.
The president might be a little behind the times. New statistics show millions of parents are grappling with Snapchat, often to the embarrassment of their offspring.
Obama said his younger daughter recorded him discussing the social network at a family dinner and then quietly posted a reaction to her friends.
It is not the first time the president has discussed his 15-year-old’s online activities.
In July, he said she also tweets, leading several media outlets to try to identify her account. It remains secret, and her Snapchat post has not been made public. Messages posted to the app are designed to disappear after being viewed or within a short period of time, but there are ways to circumvent the restrictions.
On the Jimmy Kimmel Live TV show, Obama said:
“One night at dinner we’re sitting there, and I had read that Snapchat was becoming really popular among her age cohort. So, I said: ‘So, tell me about Snapchat.’
“So, she starts explaining stuff – you can make little faces on your picture, and this and that and the other.
“And at the end of it, Michelle and I are sitting there. And I said: ‘Isn’t this interesting?’
“And I started talking to Michelle about the implications of social media and what all this means.
“[And I] come to find out she was recording us the whole time, and then sent to her friends afterwards: ‘This is my dad lecturing us on the meaning of social media.’
“And she took a picture of herself sort of looking bored.”
The president said his wife – who joined Snapchat in June – and his elder daughter Malia had loved the post. Kimmel joked it represented a security breach.
Obama mentioned that his iPhone was limited to receiving emails and browsing the internet, and would not take photos, play music or make calls.
“My rule has been throughout my presidency, that I assume that someday, some time, somebody will read this email,” he said. “So, I don’t send any email that at some point won’t be on the front page of the newspapers.”
Obama said he expected technology to preoccupy his successor. “One of the biggest challenges… is going to be: how do we continue to get all the benefits of being in cyberspace but protect our finances, protect our privacy?
“How do we balance issues of security? Because people expect the government to monitor this enough to protect them from bad guys.
“But they worry that if government is in there too much, then who is going to protect them from government?
“This is going to be a big debate that we’re going to have for a long time.”
Having mastered Facebook and Twitter – and in some cases driven their children off those platforms – the new statistics show mum and dad are now becoming happy snappers.
In June, the internet research platform Comscore found 14% of Snapchat users were aged 35 or over, up from just 2% in 2013. It was a similar story in the 25-34 age bracket, which now accounts for 38% of users, up from 5% three years ago.
The app’s filters and the “stories” function – enabling a user’s snaps to be viewed in chronological order an unlimited number of times over 24 hours – have driven the growth, Comscore said.