Social media is a huge part of our teenagers lives! Even now, I hear the disturbance of Vine videos somewhere in the office building. So what is it that captivates the attention of our teens, that makes them sit for hours mindlessly engaged in staring at a screen? Here are the top social media apps from the perspective of teens and not in order of importance, because they claim they absolutely could not live without any of them.
#1) Twitter. Teens prefer Twitter over Facebook. They can post their status (a.k.a. tweet) and share pictures just like Facebook, but prefer Twitter because - well, "the adults took Facebook over". They feel that Twitter is for the young and Facebook is for the old. Another plus is that Twitter is utilized by celebrities more. They like to follow famous actors, singers, and athletes. It's also great for keeping up with the news.
#2) Instagram. Teens love Instagram. Boys use it and girls overuse it. Girls are CONSTANTLY taking pictures and when they snap one they like, it's getting posted, only after it's edited of course. It's quick and easy. Teens like being able to scroll quickly and see who's with who and what they're doing or wearing. Heaven forbid if it doesn't get as many likes as someone else. Instagram isn't only about sharing pictures, it's a social thermometer. It can mean acceptance or disapproval depending on number of likes and comments which can be good or bad.
#3) Snapchat. Snapchat is messaging. It's an app and teens like it because it's fun. You can accomplish the same purpose through texting, and teens don't prefer Snapchat over texting. They like them equally and use them both interchangeably depending on the purpose. For a quick message, they text. If they're bored and want to have an ongoing conversation, they use Snapchat since they can take a photo with a message displayed over the picture or they can send a short video message. It's good because you can send a message and feel relatively safe that it is not being shared with anyone against your will since it will disappear in a predetermined number of seconds. It's bad because it will disappear in a predetermined number of seconds. (Hey parents, that means you can't see what their sending or receiving.)
#4 Vine. This will consume an entire day of a teen's life. Vine features 6-second looping videos that you can post or view. There are cute puppy videos, sweet baby singing videos, funny falls, tricks, and some just downright mean and inappropriate videos. Teens like them because they're funny! This app caters to a short attention span and let’s our teens scan through a stream of entertaining content quickly.
There are other social media apps - Wanelo, Ask.fm, and Kik to name a few, and new ones are sure to come. Just like with anything, change happens. Remember MySpace? Facebook took it's place. Three things are for sure: 1. Social media is here to stay, and teens (as well as adults) love it. 2. Social media can be good or evil. Know what your teen is using, find out the pros and cons, and monitor! 3. Use everything in moderation. Set limits on how much screen time your child gets. Encourage them to find other apps that compliment their lifestyle and help them be productive as well.