Teens – really, need we say more? They can be infuriating, egotistical, funny, elusive, heartbreaking and heartwarming. However, they are great predictors of what’s hot and what’s not! We stumbled across this blog written from the point of view of a college student with a younger, teenage sister. Here are some hightlights from his blog, combined with ONEmore Thought. Spoiler alert: Facebook is NOT their favorite hangout!
Tenth Grade Tech Trends by Josh Miller
“A few months ago, my fifteen-year-old sister told me that Snapchat was going to be the next Instagram. Many months before that she told me that Instagram was being used by her peers as much as Facebook. Both times I snickered. Learning from past mistakes, I took some time over the holiday break to ask my sister many, many questions about how she and her friends are using technology.”
“Looking at her Instagram feed, I noticed that the vast majority of photos were of people – not beautiful views, objects, or experiences as mine tends to be. Facebook was smart to buy Instagram.”
addONE Thought: Our GA teens are using it the same as the California sister. This software is hugely popular with the teens to post pics with short comments. My teens spend far more time on Instagram than the Facebook platform.
“She mentioned that she tries to visit Facebook as infrequently as possible. Related, she mentioned that she only visits Facebook after her Instagram Feed updates have been exhausted.”
addONE Thought: My own teens tell me that Facebook is for grandparents and not “cool” for teens. They really hate it when a grown up comments and posts pictures of them. I personally had to “train” their grandmother as to the acceptable teen rules of tagging and commenting on her grandchildren or else they will de-friend her. Teens are not the only ones taking a break from Facebook. According to CNN, 27% of Americans plan to spend less time on Facebook in 2013 vs 2012. Fading out or not?http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/05/tech/social-media/facebook-breaks-pew/index.html
“My sister maintains that Snapchat is up there with Instagram, in terms of usage amongst her peers. Her exemplary use case was a moment that she captured in the airport of a funny looking man who was snoozing in an awkward position. It’s the type of thing that you want to share with somebody, but it’s insignificance would make it awkward in a text or status update.”
addONE Thought: First impressions are not always the case, as our first impression of Snapchat was for ill intended use (see below for more cautions and insights.) Kids love the silly, randomness of Snapchat, which is exactly why adults question its worthiness. A true time waster – why the teens love it!
“She had almost nothing to say about Twitter because she didn’t know anyone in high school that used it. I followed-up on her Twitter comments by asking where she discovers links: “I don’t read links. I don’t read blogs.
addONE Thought: My college age niece says that Twitter is her favorite form of social media. She shares pictures and updates. Think a mass text list for real time messages and information. iPhones are limited to 10 in a group text and Twitter can be used as the ultimate group text! My teens are starting to use Twitter this same way – for messaging and updates but not for access to blogs and links.
She said most of her friends stopped using the service once they reached high school: “Tumblr is mostly middle schoolers. Especially hipsters. They just reblog stuff.” (Note: we’re from Santa Monica and my sister would be considered “hipster” by Northeast standards.) I can’t get over the “middle schoolers use it” comment, especially since they use Tumblr as an identity tool. That’s exactly how my friends and I used Myspace in middle school, and we too abandoned it (for Facebook) once we reached high school.
addONE Thought: The teens in our homes are not really active on Tumblr, so this is not a hot trend right now in our area. The above mentioned teen is in CA, so perhaps by the time Tumblr reaches the South, our teens may be past the usefulness as she points it to a middle school usage.
Our biggest thought our takeaway is that no one really quite knows what the “next big thing” is just yet. The teens are searching and exploring many different platforms (You Tube, Pinterest, to name a few) and something will emerge as the hot place to see and be seen. As they explore these waters, below are a few hazards to navigate regarding teens.
- Texting on the Go: Typing on a smartphone can cause people to veer off course by 61% – and we are talking walkers, not drivers! Texting and walking at the same time may require a serious amount of brain power finds a new study, reducing the ability to cross intersections safely and avoid hazards right in front of them. Get your teen off the gadget fixation and focused on the path ahead.
- Earphones and walking: More than 33% of pedestrians who are struck by a car while listening with headphones are under the age of 18. When plugged up, you can’t hear a warning horn or brakes screeching until too late.
- Speaking of earphones: One in five teens has some form of hearing loss – a rate about 30% higher than it was in the 1980s and 1990s – which many experts believe is due, in part, to the increased use of headphones. Are you constantly asking your teen to turn it down or remove the headphones so they can hear what you are saying? As a rule of thumb, you should only use MP3 devices at levels up to 60% of maximum volume for a total of 60 minutes a day. The louder the volume, the shorter your duration should be.
- Snapchat – Know it? Chances are if you are over the age of 25, you do not know what this app does. Snapchat is a mobile app which lets users share images or videos that disappear after a few seconds. That’s right — they vanish forever in the time it takes you to read a tweet. To be fair, most kids use it to send funny, cute pics of themselves but the app just lends itself to misuse – thanks in part to US Rep Anthony Weiner. Most adults assume the worst with this app. In January Snapchat was the sixth-most popular free app for Apple’s mobile devices. The kids are using this precisely because it is not Facebook and it is a chance for them to share unguarded silly moment with their friends. We are not judging, just reminding you to know what your teen is up to!
Good luck navigating the teenage course! If you need help navigating any of marketing or social media courses, give us a call. If you need additional help navigating the teen course, we recommend wine and chocolate…
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