Wondering what your teens are into online as they approach summer vacation? Just keep in mind that this year’s graduating class is the last one in which most of the students were born in the 90’s! So, what is trending with them is definitely very different from what we considered popular activities back when we were teens.
Take a peek at what we at Netsanity see trending this summer.
If you Snapchat with the same person every single day for at least three days in a row it’s what is called a streak, in a teens opinion it is arguably their favorite part of using Snapchat.
Several teens told us that they have streaks that have lasted for months and some even over a year! If your teen is headed off to camp or leaving town this summer you probably assume that they will lose access to using Snapchat for a bit and end their streaks at that point? Don’t worry, most teens already have a solution: they give their closest friend all of their Snapchat login info and they keep their streaks going while they are away. I even talked to a few Moms who have kept them up for their teens. Thankfully, I haven’t been asked yet because I certainly don’t want that big responsibility.
As always, make sure to talk to your child about the potential risks of giving away their login information, as it has the potential to put them at some risk. A good habit for your teen to get into is to have them change their password again once they return, keeping their account secure. This summer, why not take an opportunity to learn about Snapchat yourself and start a streak with your teen! It is a fun way to bond using your teen’s “language”.
Teenagers have always loved spending time with their friends. However, with an iPad or a smartphone just inches away, teen communication has also drastically changed. Instead of making the traditional phone call, most teens resort to chatting or texting with each other – almost constantly! Today, with more and more apps being created for social video-chatting and live video-streaming, teens can watch, create, and share live video to all of their friends at once. Most teens say that it is just as good as hanging out in person!
Friend Stalking is Normal
When you have an iPhone and use the “Find Friends” feature, it will display the location of all your teens friends if they each accept the contacts request to do so. Yes, we found that many teens are accepting and as “stalkerish” as this sounds! Today’s teens like seeing where and what their friends are up to. To most of them, it is perfectly acceptable and handy when your “bestie” doesn’t answer your text to take a quick check at her location. If she is at the gymnastics center then that explains why her response is delayed. Obviously, a little chat ensuring their contacts on their devices are ONLY friends they know in real life is a an absolute must when you allow them to use this feature. As parents, we love this feature because it gives us the ability to take a quick peek when needed to ensure that our teens have safely arrived at their destination!
A finsta is a second “hidden” account, typically on Instagram. What sets a finsta apart from a regular account is that it is always kept private, with only a handful of a teens closest friends who are allowed access to those postings. Typically, teens use this account to post funny or even some of the “not so glamorous” pictures that they don’t want to share with everyone. Teens also use this area to complain or tell a funny story that they typically wouldn’t do on their real Instagram account. Most teens who have a Finsta love it because it allows them to be their true self and to engage with just the friends that they are closest too. We found that most teens with a Finsta give their accounts a very unique name so that only the people they give the account name to can find them online. Nicknames that sounded like: “LaneyLikesLemonade” or “FinleyHatesFeta”. Overall, parents shouldn’t need to be overly concerned if your teen has a Finsta. We recommend that you treat a Finsta the same as you would any other social media account , monitor it and discuss appropriate online behavior regularly. Remind them that anything they post online can eventually get out, no matter how private they think it is. Encourage them to cultivate their social media presence–both public and private–to show the kind of person that they want future colleges, employers, and friends to see–because someday, they will.
As summer break approaches, we hope that these tips helped you feel a little more “in the know” about teen trends in Summer 2017. Keeping our children and teens safe in today’s online-based society can be a challenge. However, by continuing to keep solid rules for their technology use and using a trustworthy parental control on all of their devices is the best way to ensure a productive, well-rounded teenager.
Also published on Medium.