You may know nothing about Snapchat (or think it's just for selfie-crazy teens) but it's the greatest social platform out there—yes, even for parents.

By Brooke Bunce
April 11, 2016
Korean mother and daughter taking pictures together
Credit: Take A Pix Media/Getty Images

Snapchat is my favorite social platform, and not for the reasons you may think. It's got a bad rap—it was founded by some college dudes who may or may not have had ill intentions of sharing scandalous pictures—but it's evolved into something so huge, many people don't even quite understand it.

The most basic premise is simple: You snap a picture, select a friend or two or 20 to send it to, choose how long you'd like the receiver to see said picture, then fire away. Once the person on the other end opens your "snap," they only have so long to view it. After that, it disappears forever. Are you still following me? It sounds easy enough, but add on top of that filters, geotags, text and doodles, moving effects, stories, and Discover channels, and it can be a bit overwhelming.

BUT, here's why it's so great. Stories, which are pictures and videos that can be viewed an infinite number of times by all your followers within a 24-hour period, are a more-intimate, more fun way to peep someone's life than any Instagram or blog post. Why is that? Pictures and videos on snapchat can't be taken with a professional camera and uploaded to your phone; they can't be Photoshopped to oblivion, and they're meant to be candid, off-the-cuff, unedited, real moments of life. You gain so much more from seeing a moving video of a tiny baby crawling and snaps of real-life toy disasters than highly curated, arranged pictures of avocado toast and perfectly strewn organic wooden toys.

Plus, we've found that moms love Snapchat. It has all the benefits of showing off your adorable kids (because, honestly, who doesn't want to do that?) while ensuring that your baby's pictures aren't easily searchable or public for an indefinite amount of time, as they would be on other social platforms. It's low-commitment, low-pressure, high-fun. Even though I don't have kids, watching videos of someone else's squishy baby learning to crawl never gets old. Need a place to start? Check out the recommendations below:

KristenMittler A lifestyle blogger from Ohio, Kristen (of the blog Moon Schooling Eleanor) posts daily snaps of her three kids, Eleanor, Wolfgang, and Rufus, and what life is like as a stay-at-home Midwestern mom. She peppers tons of silly, real-life-mom moments (rejoicing when she gets time to take a shower) with snaps of her kids napping that are so adorable you'll want to squeal.

IlanaWiles Based in NYC and author of the blog Mommy Shorts, Ilana has plenty of shots of her enviable apartment and hilarious outtakes of her daughters, Mazzy and Harlow, conducting impromptu Frozen sing-alongs.

smittenkitchen Deb Perelman of the lauded food blog, Smitten Kitchen, isn't exactly a mom-centric blogger, and isn't one to post pictures of her family on her primary social channels—that is, unless you follow her on Snapchat. You'll get glimpses of both glorious-looking cooking process shots as well as precious videos of her son and daughter, Jacob and Anna, being mini kitchen assistants.

jenloveskev Jen Lula of the lifestyle blog Jen Loves Kev used to write primarily about fashion, but shifted her focus once her first daughter, Rowan, was born. Now that they've added another little girl, Finley, to their family, Jen's snaps are chock-full of silly, candid moments of her husband tickling their younger daughter.

parentsmagazine And while we're here, may we suggest adding Parents to your newly formed Snapchat friends list? We'll update you on the fun stuff we have going down behind-the-scenes, plus need-to-know info and happenings straight from the editors.

Now that you've got the basics, it's time to get snapping!

Brooke Bunce is an editorial assistant at Parents magazine.