Although they might not think it, most teenagers have far less “skeletons in the closet” than adults do.
They might think of themselves as young and edgy, but most haven’t been in the real world long enough to have things in their past that could turn lives upside down if they became public knowledge.
The latest craze amongst the adults of the future is the secretive photo-sharing service Snapchat. You’re always going to have to worry about whether or not your mum is going to see that embarrassing picture of you vomiting in a gutter at 3am. You’re also not going to need to scroll through photos of your old colleague’s new baby just to see what your best mate thinks about the latest football game, and you’ve no need to worry about whether your boss sees you out partying after you called in sick.
According to Business Insider, two-fifths of American teenagers use Snapchat “multiple” times per day, with the app registering a staggering one billion photos daily. Ultimately, Snapchat is where teenagers can share shocking and hilarious pictures with intimate groups rather than the world.
Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus all broadcast to almost anyone that’s interested.
You’re “on show” permanently, meaning you have to worry about follower counts, who is judging what you’re posting, and making sure you look your best on every photo in case your secret admirer happens to stumble across an image of you looking less-than-glamourous.
It’s easy to underestimate the social pressures some teenagers feel when using social media.
As one teenager, Andrew Watts, recently wrote on a blog post, “ The upshot of this is that Snapchat becomes a place where teenagers feel more able to be themselves.
Pictures aren’t touched-up, auto-enhanced, or hand-picked to look cool – instead they are an honest and open way of sharing what is happening their day.
They have their own language, own trends, own logic, and own fashion sense – yet despite their “drawbacks”, they are often also on the cutting edge of what’s cool.
Nowhere is that sense of cool more fine-tuned than in the digital world.
They are frequently the first demographic group to embrace new technologies, new apps, and new ways of communication – leaving the typically more cautious older age groups to trail in their wake.
Their willingness to try new apps is perfectly demonstrated in the world of social media.