The social media landscape changes quickly, but there’s a new chart out today at MarketingCharts.com (data from comscore) that details exactly which mobile social apps millennials aged 18 – 34 are using on their smartphones. Since the 18 – 25 year old crowd generally sets the tone for what comes next for teens, as a parent this is what you probably have to look forward to, unless something hotter comes along (it will), but none of these are likely to die out any time soon.
Let’s take a look at each, and give you our take on how the digital trendsetters and teens are actually using them. Follow the links below to learn more about the risks for young users on each.
Facebook (76%) – Everybody it seems is on Facebook, despite predictions that it will go away at some point. A teen may have set up a Facebook account to post pictures or because friends were using the messaging app, but once you have an established Facebook profile, it becomes your unofficial online resume, especially for social purposes. That cute girl your friend introduced you to at the mall? You can bet that you’re going to check her out on Facebook. Parents should be aware that being friends with your teen on Facebook does not equal monitoring his online activity. Since most parents are on Facebook, teens generally have the good sense to keep their identity, pictures and commentary on Facebook squeaky clean.
Instagram (43%) – Pictures are a big deal, and so is Instagram. In addition to selfies, young users post pictures of what they’re doing and who they’re with. It’s easier than writing about what you’re doing, and quicker too. As is the case with Instagram’s parent company Facebook, adult content is pretty strictly policed.
Snapchat (33%) – Again, pictures. Snapchat, though, is more of a messaging app than a photo-sharing app. Snapchat users have been sold the promise that pictures vanish completely after being viewed by the recipient, but they don’t really. Users sharing sexting messages via Snapchat run the risk that the pictures will find their way online.
Twitter (24%) – There are two distinct use cases for Twitter – broadcasting information and consuming information. Young Twitter users with a lot of opinions tend to post a lot – dozens of times per day. Curious young users might use Twitter more as a way of connecting with and hearing thoughts from famous or notable people. The Pope, President Obama, Rihanna and Lebron James are all a big deal on Twitter. Speaking of James, Twitter is also popular with the athletic crowd, who tend to be very active either tweeting about their sport or following the players on their favorite team.
Google+ (18%) – Nobody uses Google+, especially not young users. This number is so high because a Google user’s Gmail, YouTube and Google+ accounts are all connected, so the definition of a Google+ “user” is very much open for debate. In the course of doing an audit on a teen, we almost never find any content on his Google+ account.
Pinterest (18%) – 80% of Pinterest users are women, so if you’re the parent of a teenage girl, you may find her posting pictures of her favorite things there – clothes, celebs, jewelry etc. There’s no need to worry, Pinterest is probably the most family-friendly network that we’ve seen
Vine (11%) – Vine is Twitter’s video-sharing service. If you’re the parent of a teen Twitter user with a sense of humor, chances are she has posted a Vine video. As is the case with Twitter, there are few restrictions on adult content.
Tumblr (6%) – Even thought the company doesn’t say it this way, Tumblr is currently the quickest and easiest way to have your own blog and have people actually see your posts. While there is a lot of pornography on there, most teen accounts that we see are kids looking for a creative outlet for their writing or graphics skills.
Now that more than 50% of internet traffic comes via mobile, it is vital for parents to understand what teens are doing on their phones.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.