Sasha Obama Gave Dad Barack A Social Media Lesson He'd Never Forget

When their family moved into the White House, Maila and Sasha Obama were 10 and 7 years old, respectively. While they knew that Malia and Sasha's lives would never be "normal," Barack and Michelle focused on what they could control to give their kids a grounded upbringing. As the sisters grew, Michelle was judicious about their use of social media. When Malia was 15, she was permitted some social media use, while Sasha, who was 12, had to wait to get these privileges until she was older. Three years later, like her big sister before her, Sasha was demonstrating social media know-how, and using it to school her dad.

Curious about Snapchat, Barack asked teenage Sasha to give him a tutorial. The experience prompted the then-president to start getting philosophical on the topic. Barack was so caught up in expressing his ideas that he didn't realize Sasha was capturing the whole thing on her phone. As he recounted on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," Sasha captioned the video, "This is my dad lecturing us on the meaning of social media." In addition, Barack added, "She took a picture of herself sort of looking bored." 

Malia and Michelle thought Sasha's post was hilarious, and the sisters were delighted to share the video with their friends. As for Barack, he stoically accepted the situation. "I am generally the brunt of every joke in the household," the former president explained on the podcast "Armchair Expert." 

Barack Obama relishes opportunities to expound on topics with his daughters

Sasha Obama's Snapchat video of Barack Obama wasn't the only time the former president's family had to listen to him extemporize on a range of subjects. Amid his busy White House schedule, Barack made time to join Michelle Obama and their two daughters for dinner.  According to Michelle, Malia Obama would often precipitate these situations by asking Barack a question about a complicated topic like climate change. "Sasha and I are like, 'No, don't get him started,'" Michelle explained on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" as she joked that her husband's proposed three-point response would often expand to include multiple subsidiary points.

Personal enthusiasm aside, Barack is aware that his family wasn't always keen on listening to impromptu lectures. When asked if he thought his daughters would read his 768-page book "A Promised Land," Barack noted that, while they probably would read it eventually, it wasn't a top priority. "You're never a prophet in your own land. Their attitude is, 'We've got better things to do than read your boring rants and raves," the former president explained on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

Now an empty-nester, Barack has shifted his strategy and shared discussion topics through texting and email, like sending detailed articles on earthquake preparedness since Sasha and Malia live in California. However, he's not the only one. Sasha has given her dad some reading assignments of his own by sending out psychology-themed articles that relate to her college coursework.

Michelle Obama was Snapchat savvy in the White House

In contrast to her husband, Michelle Obama had knowledge of Snapchat because she had her own account on the platform. In June 2016, the then-first lady used Snapchat to connect with younger audiences while she chronicled a trip to Liberia, Morocco, and Spain in support of Let Girls Learn. During her eight years in the White House, Michelle was motivated to use social media to connect with young people and promote topics, like education, that were close to her heart. 

While she relied on her staff to help her craft on-point messages and avoid missteps, Michelle also looked to Malia and Sasha Obama. By paying attention to what captivated her daughters on social media, Michelle had access to vital information about the audiences she was trying to reach. However, Michelle had no illusions that her social media posts and videos would have the same impact in her own household. "[Malia and Sasha] don't think we're cool at all," she candidly told The Verge.

Even though she embraced social media for work purposes while she was first lady, Michelle has been outspoken about disconnecting from online activities. After her daughters grew up and went to college, Michelle didn't follow Sasha and Malia on social media. Instead, she delegated that task to a few younger family members. As young adults, Michelle wanted her daughters to have time to explore their identities apart from their parents.