Teens in the digital age embrace technology extremely quickly. Many of the older generations become entrenched in a platform and are reluctant to change. This is not the case with teenagers. When they see a new platform to try, often they will try it out, and if it works well for them, they will use it. At least until the next new platform comes around.
Adults really just want all of their messages from all platforms integrated into one easy to use place. So, if someone could get on an app that will pull in my messages from all platforms, that would be great. Thanks. Teens are ok with being contacted through several different applications all at once. As your kids are likely using, or wanting to use these apps, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with them.
Snapchat – Thanks to streaks, Snapchat still reigns supreme. The platform has lost several users due to terrible user interface decisions, but keeping those streaks alive continues to draw teens to the app. A streak happens when you have sent a Snap to a user at least once a day. Many teens will give their password to a friend when they will be out of town and unable to access Snapchat so they can keep their streaks alive!
Shapchat mainly features disappearing videos or images that you send to friends, or post publicly. The images will only stick around for 24 hours, so it encourages frequent use.
iMessage – Although most teens don’t necessarily use text messaging to communicate with their friends, many are still using iMessage (which is Apple’s texting platform). I think without iMessage, texting would already be officially dead with the young crowd.
HouseParty – We recently featured our parent review of HouseParty. Using a group video message app like Houseparty is gaining popularity because it makes coordinating events so much easier when you can all chat about it at the same time. Through Houseparty, up to 8 people can have a live video chat at once, and kids are loving this new way to interact with their friends. Videos are not recorded through Houseparty.
Marco Polo – Like Houseparty, Marco Polo is a video messaging application. These videos are recorded and stay forever. You can delete your own Polo’s, but you cannot delete other users messages. You can create a group chat, but each person would send individual videos to the group. It is not a live group chat like Houseparty.
WhatsApp – When it comes to just messaging, many teens and millennials choose to use WhatsApp. Like many social media applications the platform has been stealing features from others, and now allows you to post video status updates like the stories features on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. The company is currently owned by Facebook, so it makes sense that the features would mesh.
Instagram – Although Instagram is more of a social media platform, the instant messaging feature within the app has many teens using it to communicate. Teens are rarely using Instagram to share photos or status updates, they mainly just use the app to private message their friends.
Facebook – Similar to Instagram, teens are definitely not using Facebook to share status updates, photos, and links. They are using it primarily for Facebook Messenger. Say what you will about Facebook, but the platform makes it easy to connect with other users easily. However, they way you and I as parents and adults use Facebook is very different from the way your teens are using Facebook.
Learning what platforms your teen is actually using to communicate with their friends is extremely important. There are even platforms we didn’t mention like Google Hangouts and Group Me. The truth is that most likely they will use the platform the majority of their friends are using, so find out what that is by installing a parental control app. Apps like Boomerang can let you know which applications your teen uses the most so you can make sure to check up on them within that application.
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