The tweet of a Catholic priest calling on parents to get their kids off Snapchat in very strong terms is going viral – and causing controversy.
Here’s what the priest, Fr. Dan Beeman of Norfolk, VA, posted on Twitter:
The tweet reads: “Dear Parents: Get Snapchat off of your kids’ phones. Now. Don’t ask. Just do it. Let them hate you. That will pass. Love, a priest who hears their sins.”
If you don’t know what Snapchat is, it’s one of the most popular social networks in the world, especially for young people. Its defining feature is that content disappears after short periods of time. For example, you can send your friend a picture, and they’re only able to view it for a few seconds before it’s gone (though there are ways to get around this). It’s often criticized for having mainstreamed “sexting,” in which people share sexually explicit photos/videos of themselves.
As of this writing, the tweet has been Liked nearly 8k times and retweeted over 3.2k times.
But it’s also gotten backlash.
“Not allowing them on snapchat won’t teach them anything,” one person responded. “Snapchat is basically a teen essential these days, trust me, I know, I talk to all of my friends on snap. It’ll restrain them more than protect them. Teach them love, purity, and respect instead.”
Other people had similar responses.
One major topic of concern was whether the priest was breaking the Seal of Confession with his tweet.
As one person wrote in response: “Says the priest on twitter… Anyway, 1. They’ll just reinstall it. 2. You don’t have kids. 3. You’re not supposed to even give a hint of what you hear in the confessional.”
He got enough flak along these lines that he felt compelled to respond the next day:
It reads: “Just an FYI, the seal of confession is to a specific sin or a specific penitent’s identity. A general mention of sinful patterns (which never mentioned a specific reference to a confession), has been done for teaching the faithful by priests, popes, and Saints for centuries.”
Other commenters defended the priest.
“Shocked by the backlash this man is receiving for trying to help desperate children and struggling parents,” one person wrote. “I have 5 children, teach in a Catholic HS and agree 100% with what he has said. Parents don’t be fearful of your teens, they need you.”
One person even recommended parents get their children to follow ChurchPOP instead (we didn’t tell them to say that)! 😁