Social media is just like the weeds in a well-kept garden. You pluck one out and three more sprouts in its place. When you think you’ve figured it out, you’re even more lost.
There are millions of colourful apps in the app store, all with their unique features. So we’ll be counting down the seven apps most used by your teen. (Based on research by the pew research centre 2018)
KIK (33% of teens)
Kik is a mobile messaging application. It is available on IOS and Android. The app is free to use and is compared to other famous apps like Viber and WhatsApp but has some extra features that set it apart. Such as anonymous chat and an inbuilt browser – which translates to more time spent on the app.
According to research, 1 out of 3 (33%) American teenagers and 27% of Swedish teens frequent the app.
Pros: It’s fun, and teens can connect with friends
Cons: there are safety concerns because chatting with strangers is very easy with the app. It uses a dating app type of style.
Twitter (38% of teens)
Twitter is an online social networking and news app that allows users to communicate in short messages called ‘tweets’. 1 out of 3 (32%) American teens and adolescents is on twitter and use it regularly.
Global research shows that the number of teens on social media goes up to 38% from the 20% it was in 2013. Only 3% of teens prefer twitter to other social media. Hence it ranks as 6th. It is the next least-used popular app among teenagers.
Pros: Access to news, connecting with friends
Cons: It is easy to come across pornography in the app.
WhatsApp is a free, messenger app for smartphones. It uses the internet to send messages, images, audio or videos, so it is significantly cheaper than texting. It is also possible to use the app on a desktop. It is popular with teenagers because of features like voice and video call, location sharing, group chatting, and voice messaging.
Teen usage varies significantly by region. Only 8% of US teens use the app, but 37% of UK teens (11 -16) frequent it. In the Middle East and Africa, 69% of the mobile teen audience uses WhatsApp, compared with just 4% in North America.
Pros: Voice and video call, group chatting, media sharing, voice messaging and location sharing
Cons: the app forces users to add friends (your teen) through their phone number. They can also easily be added to group chats without consent. Meaning that people they do not know (Friends of friends) would have access to their phone number and consequently, them.
Facebook (51% of Teens)
Facebook, one of the earliest social media platforms. It allowed us to connect with our long lost friends around the world. It was a huge hit.
In recent times, Facebook has become less popular among teenagers. Although 1 out of 2 (51%) teenagers still frequents the app, only 10% of US teens prefer Facebook to other social media.
Pros: Connect with family and friends all over the world
Cons: Strangers can contact teens – Online grooming risk. There are violent videos. Inaccurate information is conveniently circulated and easily come across by teens and adolescents.
Snapchat (69% of teens)
Snapchat is a photo and video messaging app. It is popular with kids for its filters, geographic location, photo editing, and expiring content. 69% of teens frequently use the app, and 35% of them say that Snapchat is their favourite app
Pros: the app has an engaging interface, captions, Fun features that allow the user to draw on their pictures, and hilarious filters such as the ‘face swap’.
Cons: Snaps don’t disappear, as the receiver can take screenshots and even if notified, one cannot remotely delete them. Also, because teens believe snaps disappear, it allows them to engage in risky behaviours such as sexting. Snapchat is also a significant cause of FOMO anxiety.
Instagram (72% of teens)
Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. While only 15% say they use this app the most, 75% of teens frequent this app.
Pros: promotes careers as teens can post videos of their talents and get exposure. It also allows them to find a community of like-minded individuals.
Cons: Anyone in public can view their content unless privacy settings are changed. Instagram also reveals location information, which poses a safety risk. Encourages the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
YouTube (86% of Teens)
This app tops our list as the app most used by teenagers, with 86% of Teenagers saying they frequently use it and 35% saying the app is their favourite. It is a video-sharing app containing millions of videos. The app allows users to upload videos or watch other people’s videos or both. It was created in 2004 and was a hit ever since.
60% of users say they prefer it to live television.
Pros: Tons of educational content and shows for all ages – even toddlers. It’s entertaining and fun
Cons: It is highly addictive, and children spend a lot of time on it. Some videos may contain strong language.
Over 40% of teens say they are always online, which is a call to action. If you cannot beat them, join them. Create accounts on your kids’ favourite social media apps and friend them. Following their activity helps you keep abreast of what’s happening in their lives.
For younger kids, you can even have them log in their social media accounts on your phone.
Keep your Kids safe on social media by keeping the line of communication open, talk to them about what they do on social media and how they present themselves. Remember to be as open-minded as possible.