By: Topher Wiles
It’s not just teenagers that get a thrill from watching the
number by the flame grow day by day. People of all ages enjoy the feature that Snapchat
has dubbed “streaks”. A 2017 Business Insider article gives us this information
on a Snapchat streak. “A Snapchat streak is when you send direct snaps back
and forth with a friend for several consecutive days. The longer you go without
breaking the chain of communication, the longer your streak is. Snapchat
rewards longer streaks with special emojis, such as the ‘100’ emoji for streaks
lasting 100 days, or a mountain emoji for an extremely long streak. Many
teens (and adults I know) invest an inordinate amount of time keeping streaks
alive. There's nothing more devastating than losing a streak you've put months
of work into.” 1 (see endnotes)
I have an adult friend who surprised me one day stating, “I
have a couple streaks that are over 400 days long.” That means they’ve snapped someone on their
phone every day for over a year straight. As for me, I’ve explored streaks as I’ve tried
to learn more about the opportunities and pitfalls of this social media
messaging platform that more of our church members are using. My longest streak was 76 days, a paltry number compared to
the record that suntrics.com has listed as of May 2021. That record is considered
to be 2165 consecutive days and counting.2 Can you believe that Ally
Zaino and Kait Bruneau have sent messages to each other every day for nearly 6
years? That’s almost as long as the streak was introduced on April 6th,
Snapchat streakers feel strong emotions when considering
losing their streaks, as if they are losing a tangible commodity that they’ve
worked hard for or losing an actual relationship with a friend. I know anxiety
rides high for some Snapchat Streakers when friends don’t snap back in a timely
fashion, threatening to reset that precious streak number to zero.
Yet, I think it is entirely healthy to break a Snapchat
streak. We aren’t designed to be
tethered 365 days a year to our cell phones.
One of the events that recently broke my Snapchat streaks
was a camping trip with the boys to Standing Stone State Park. It had beautiful trails, overlooks, a gorgeous
old dam releasing water from the lake, streams to cross, tennis courts, and a live
little scorpion found in a campsite by a neighboring camper. Standing Stone was a delightful bliss of a two
day getaway for my three sons and I. The park had everything we needed. What it didn’t have was cellphone reception
on my network or accessible wifi from the campsite. I was completely unplugged
from the communications world, tuned into enjoying the outdoors with Gabriel,
Ethan, and Micah, and I loved it. From the smiles and laughs as we sat at the
Dairy Queen in Livingston rehashing our highlights from the trip while downing
delicious Blizzards, I’d say the boys were glad I unplugged as well.
Sadly, I’m one of those people who stay connected as my cell
phone serves as my Bible, prayer list, note taking device, to-do list,
calendar, and communications hub. The boys and I were taking guesses as to how
many notifications I would receive at the end of the two day camping trip when
I reached cell signal again. Gabriel won
as my 2-day notification tally sent my cell phone into a vibrating spastic
seizure surpassing 300 alerts from
social media platforms, text messages, and emails. Many of you are like me,
tied to your cell phone with constant communications and uses. Many
of us are even addicted to our smart phones, Facebook feeds, and Snapchat
Streaks. Take a look at some of the information on smartphone addiction from disturbmenot.co.
“Nomophobia is the official term for smartphone
addiction—a rising issue in modern society among both the young and the
66.53% of the world’s population has a mobile
People tap, swipe, and click an average of
2,617 times per day.
iPhone users unlock their phones an average
of 80 times per day.
Users spend an average of 2 hours and 51
minutes a day on their smartphones.
26% of car accidents are caused by smartphone
52% of American teens want to take steps to
cut back on their use of smartphones.”3
Over half of American teens would like to cut back that
smartphone usage, yet features like the Snapchat Streak count, Facebook Like,
Instagram Heart, and Twitter Re-tweet are designed to keep us plugged in and
addicted. I recommend looking up the adverse
effects of cell phone addictions that are listed on numerous websites, such as psychguides.com.
I won’t go into detail here, but I was surprised to read that male infertility,
neck strain, OCD, and depression are among issues connected with cellphone
For our family’s strength, health, and relationships, I believe
we need to encourage each other to break the Snapchat streaks, because being
connected to your cellphone daily for 6+ years is going to have net negative
consequences. While it won’t be popular
with those addicted, especially teens, (it may potentially induce short term anxiety,
irritation, and restlessness) breaking cell phone streaks and addictions needs
to happen from time to time for us to rest and focus on the highest priorities
in life. Take a camping trip with your
kids, go on a cruise with your friends, or declare a “no-cell phone” weekend in
your house while you read actual books and do things that make you feel good.
Enjoy distraction free time together as a family and focus on God’s blessings
around you. My streaks are broken, and I’ve
been set free. Consider how you can enjoy freedom with your family too.
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in
peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and
all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12
|Check out that little scorpion from Standing Stone!