Attention is the main prize of the internet. Everyone is fighting for it, and the phone is the prime battleground. The most potent of weapons in this war is the incessant, whining notification trying to pull your attention away from whatever you are actually doing and into some other app. -  Zach Hines
Snapchat took the world by storm, capturing teens’ attention like Facebook did in its infancy. And while its popularity remains high, adults everywhere are still scratching their heads as to why. Now with more features that increase its popularity and continue to be mimicked by other platforms, it’s important that we parents understand how it works, why it’s so popular, and how to have formative conversations about it with our teens.
TikTok has rapidly gained popularity among teens and tweens since its launch in 2016. As a destination for short-form mobile videos, users upload videos of themselves lip-syncing, telling jokes, dancing, etc. For parents of young people who use the app (or keep asking to), it’s helpful to know what it is, its pitfalls and dangers, and how to talk to them about it in order to help them pursue the flourishing God intends for us in every area of our lives.
The days when you used to wait till Saturday night to watch your favorite show are long gone. This might be old news to you—after all, Netflix has grown pretty popular. But when asked which online service they couldn’t “‘live without,’” 67% of users aged 13-24 named YouTube, with 85% saying it was something they regularly watch. YouTube easily surpassed Netflix, traditional TV, and other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. So what’s the appeal? What are they watching that they can’t live without? What are all the different subscriptions now associated with it? How do we talk to them about it all? And most importantly, how do we teach our children to set healthy boundaries around all of their media usage, including YouTube?
Though much younger than its predecessors, Instagram has become a social media behemoth through its simplicity, ease of us, and focus on imagery. Along with Snapchat, it’s considered by many teens as a non-negotiable in their arsenal of online profiles. So what’s the good, bad, and ugly of the app? Let’s look at how the app is changing us, both for better and worse.