Snapchat your mother? A real mom reviews messaging apps

Call your mother! It's good advice, but it's kind of outdated. There is no reason you can't text her or send her an emoji. So for Mother's Day, I decided to test out some popular messaging apps out on my own mom, Imelda, who also happens to be my friend on Facebook.

She agreed to be my guinea pig with what I can only describe as thinly veiled annoyance. That's partly due to the fact that she was in Hawaii last week with my dad, aunt and uncle, and would rather be walking on the beach than trying out new apps designed for teenagers.

Somehow I guilted her into talking to me instead of the other way around. So which apps did she like?


The basics: Kik lets users send text messages and easily create and share photos and videos. There is also the option to send sketches, fill-in-the-blank memes, YouTube videos and more. You can even use anonymous screen names, in case you want to talk to random people you met on Reddit or "World of Warcraft."

The reaction: My mom figured this one out pretty quickly. I mean, she wasn't sending "Bad Luck Brian" memes or anything, but she did pretty quickly figure out how to send vacation photos. Kik was my favorite, thanks to its clean design. It's not my judgement that matters, however, and she really, really liked the next app.


The basics: Essentially, Viber is like living in a cartoon. There are stickers of wide-eyed animals, endless emoji and a loud purple interface. Users can also add short video or audio messages to their text conversations, just in case you want to verbally express the OMG-ness of your day. It also lets people make free calls over Wi-Fi connections.

Keith Wagstaff / Viber/Kik
A snippet of our conversation on Viber (left) and Kik (right).

The reaction: My mom is a retired elementary school teacher. As a kid, I would often find stickers in my lunch, casually affixed to a wax paper-wrapped turkey sandwich. That is why I was pretty sure she would love Viber.

"I like the stickers," she told me over the phone. "They are way too cute!"

Always a lover of good deals and saving money, she loved the free calling over Wi-Fi. She also liked the audio messages, one of which consisted of her explaining to my uncle that she was recording his voice.

"This is my favorite," she declared to me.


The basics: Take a photo. Draw a funny mustache or something on it. Send it and, once it's read, poof, it disappears after 10 seconds. Young people love Snapchat more than Pop Rocks and electronic dance music combined. Could my mom master it?

The reaction: "The first thing that opens is the camera," she told me. "What do I do with this camera?"

That is pretty much as far as she got with Snapchat. She did like the Snapchat Stories, which gave her a glimpse of the U.K. election and life in Buenos Aires. In the end, however, it was just too much to deal with.


Considering she continues to send me stickers, it's safe to say she will continue to use Viber. Oh, and Apple's FaceTime. Always with the FaceTime.

So there you go, sons and daughters looking for a fun way to talk to your mom. With a sample size of one, my testing has concluded Viber is an excellent app for communicating on Mother's Day.