Sign up here to get a FREE copy of the eBook
Tech Talk Conversation Cards

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Trendy Apps for Teens

Trendy Apps for Teens

Trendy Apps for Teens

New apps are always hitting the market. And while parents are content to stick with the tried and true social networking platforms, our teens love trying the newest, latest apps. It’s common to a see a handful of trendy apps for teens one summer only to see that list change the next. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated as a parent. Don’t!

When talking to your teen about new apps, keep the conversation focused on these 4 issues:

  1. Privacy
  2. Location
  3. Respect
  4. Productivity

2018 Trendy Apps for Teens

Chat Fiction Apps

Hooked_Trendy Apps for TeensHooked

Age: 12+
In App Purchases: Yes
Contains Ads: No
Hooked is a new genre of chat fiction apps. It launched in 2015 and quickly gained popularity. In Decmber 2016 Hooked was #1 in the iTunes app store. It surpassed apps like Instagram and Snapchat! on the iTunes chart.

Hooked feeds users a story in a message-by-message format. Reading it literally looks as if you are reading a text message. Hooked brings readers into the dialogue of the story immediately. There is no backstory on the characters. Users don’t get to select which story to read. Instead, the app chooses a story based on the genre selected. The Hooked logo is an owl. So, each message in the story is a “hoot.”

Hooked does have a paid subscription. A paid subscriber is a “Superhoot.” As a paid subscriber you have the option to select self-chosen stories. The paid version of Hooked also eliminates the waiting period for stories.

What Teens Say
Teens love the text message format and the availability of stories.

What Parents Should Know
Most of the content on Hooked is mature and graphic in nature. The free version gives access to a tiny portion of the story and won’t show images without payment. You are unable to read the story for 15 minutes with the free version. It’s really formatted to shuffle users to the paid version.

Hooked is available for iOS and Android devices.

 

Yarn_Trendy Apps for TeensYarn

Age: 12+
In App Purchases: Yes
Contains Ads: Yes
Yarn followed Hooked onto the scene as a chat fiction app and is targeted to teens. Yarn adds new stories daily. It’s very similar to Hooked in terms of style but offers some different genres. Yarn also has a celebrity category that has a big appeal to teens.

Like Hooked, stories are presented in a message-by-message format. So, reading stories on Yarn looks and feels like you are reading a text message. The story literally begins with immediate dialogue. There is no backstory on the characters. In Yarn, users do get to select which story they would like to read within a variety of genres. However, many of the stories require a paid subscription to fully read. Or, have images which aren’t shown unless you have a paid subscription.

What Teens Love
Teens love the text message format of the stories. Many teens also love the celebrity stories featured in Yarn.

What Parents Should Know
Most of the content on Yarn is mature and graphic in nature. The celebrity stories add a great deal of shallow content to the selection of material. In other words, there isn’t much (if any) educational content available. The free version gives access to a tiny portion of the story and won’t show images without payment. You are unable to read the story for 20 minutes with the free version. It’s really formatted to shuffle users to the paid version.

Yarn is available for iOS and Android devices.

Video Chat Apps

Houseparty

Age: 13 & Up
In App Purchases: No
 Contains Ads: No

Houseparty is a video chatting app that’s unlike any on the market. It’s also hugely popular with teens. To get started, users need to set up an account by entering a name and email, and then selecting a username and password. Users are also prompted to enter their phone number. This helps them connect with friends.

Once your account is set, you’ll be given text conversation starters. You can select a friend to video chat with to get started. Every time you add a friend to “the party” the screen will split showing all who are there. You can lock your party at any given time so no one else can join. Your room can host up to 8 people. The quality of the video and audio feed depends on the strength of your wi-fi connection. If someone in the group has poor wi-fi, they won’t get dropped from “the party.” Instead, the video will drop out and they’ll be joined by audio only.

What Teens Say
What teens love most about Houseparty is it’s very “real and in the moment.” Whereas Instagram is very much a “put your best face forward” app, Houseparty gives teens the feel of having real-life conversations with their friends.

What Parents Should Know
While there is nothing inherently wrong with Houseparty, it can quickly become an app where teens lose track of time. One safety concern is Houseparty doesn’t verify ages. If users don’t lock a chat, anyone can “eavesdrop” on the conversation. This means they can take screenshots and even record conversations within an unlocked group chat. It’s easy for teens to find themselves hopping from room to room within the app looking for something interesting. So Houseparty can become a time waster.

Houseparty has also become an app known for connecting and finding out about parties and events. It’s a quick way to spread the word about events IRL. This is an issue where the app isn’t causing behavior. Teens will find another way to share information. Be sure you address the issue at hand. Don’t blame it on the app. The issue you want to address is that your teen has a good sense of balance and they aren’t wasting countless hours on this app.

Houseparty is available for iOS and Android devices.

 

Monkey

Age: 13 & Up
In App Purchases: No
Contains Ads: No
Monkey is very similar in appearance to Snapchat. So, teens already using Snapchat find using Monkey comfortable. In fact, users must have a Snapchat account to use Monkey. Monkey is different than other video chatting apps. It randomly matches your teen with users worldwide! Before connecting, your teen will view the gender, age, and location of a perspective friend. Once matched, they can choose to have a 10-second video chat with that person or skip to the next match. Think of it as chat roulette. After 10 seconds of chat, if both parties agree, they can expand their chat time. Or, they can add this new person to Snapchat.

What Teens Say:
Teens love being able to meet new friends from all over the world. And, they like the 10-second introduction time. Monkey’s integration with Snapchat is also a big draw for them.
 
What Parents Should Know
Monkey does seem to be very proactive when it comes to content and cyberbullying. I found it refreshing that they do seem to be trying to teach teens the importance of digital citizenship. That said, the permissions required when signing up for Monkey well exceed what the app would need. I was shocked when I noticed Monkey’s terms and conditions state they can share anything on their app with third-parties; this includes texts, posts, URLs, videos, pictures, messages, HTML’s, and other material. It also grants permission for the app to modify or delete the contents of your USB storage. And, read the contents of your USB storage.

That alone is enough to make me warn every parent and teen to stay away from this app! Parents, this app is a great example of walking with your kids through social media to show them the importance of looking at the privacy policy of the apps we use.

Monkey is available for iOS and Android devices.

Family Digital Media Agreement

Live Streaming Apps

Hype

Age: 13 & Up
In App Purchases: No
Contains Ads: No
 Hype is a live-streaming video app available for iOS. Hype offers tons of creative options for live streaming. Using Hype, broadcasters can layer a live video with other media: photos, videos, animated GIFs, music, text, and emojis. These options can be moved around the screen, added, or deleted during the live broadcast to create a live stream unlike any other. One feature that sets Hype apart from others is the ability for broadcasters to pull comments from their audience into their video. Comments show as a floating chat bubble. The audience is also able to show their appreciation for a broadcaster by lighting up the screen with sparkles. These options make Hype a very interactive live streaming platform.

What Teens Say
Hype offers lots of fun creative ways for teens to create interactive live streaming videos. Adding comments, GIF, music, and text is a big draw for them. Teens also love that they can really engage with their audience by adding comments and encourage them to share the love by lighting up the broadcast with sparkles.

What Parents Should Know
The Terms of Service for Hype state users must be at least 13 years old and have parental permission if they are between 13 and 18 years old. Hype accounts can be created by using a Twitter or Facebook account. Or, you can sign up with an email address. Teens should know if they sign up using Facebook, their name, as it is on their Facebook account, appears and there’s no way to change it. So, if they’ve used their full name on Facebook, that will be their username on Hype. Usernames of viewers are visible to the broadcasters. To delete an account, users must contact support@hypeapp.com.

Hype is available for iOS devices.

Live.ly

Age: 13 & Up
In App Purchases: No
Contains Ads: No
Live.ly is a live stream video platform that works alongside the popular app, Musical.ly. Teens can broadcast live in real time to the world, or use Live.ly for group video chats. Live.ly users are called “streamers.” To get started, they create an account by using their existing Musical.ly, Facebook, or Twitter account. Once their account is set they can start live streaming videos to their Musical.ly fans. Viewers can leave comments and more to interact with the streamer. Those viewing can send a virtual gift, post real-time comments, and can even be “guested” into live chats.

What Teens Love:
Many users of Live.ly use the app because it helps them connect with friends, watch broadcasts from other users, and showcases their live streams to the world.

What Parents Need to Know:
Viewing the broadcasts also requires no registration or age verification at all. And unfortunately, the open forum can put streamers at risk to receive live responses and requests that are inappropriate and downright vulgar. Be sure preteens and teens using Live.ly understand the importance of not giving out too much personal information when live streaming.

Live.ly is available for iOS and Android devices.

Social Media Platforms

Instagram_Trendy Apps for TeensInstagram

Age: 13 & Up
In App Purchases: Yes
Contains Ads: Yes
Instagram is a platform that lets users snap, edit, and share photos and videos. Users can share these publicly. Or, they can share with a list of those users they’ve approved as followers. Users can view, like and comment on photos and videos of other Instagram accounts.

What Teens Say
Instagram brings all the features teens love into one social media site. With Instagram, you can see, share, and comment on photos. There are lots of fun filters and cool effects that you can quickly add to photos you take. These filters give pictures a high-quality, artistic look. Instagram has added Stories, which allow users the ability to post images or videos for a 24-hour period. Users can also share live video streams. So, Instagram gives teens many options for sharing content.

What Parents Should Know
Teens want their photos and videos to receive “Likes.” Similar to Facebook, it’s easy for teens to fall into the trap where they begin to measure the “success” of each photo they share by the number of likes or comments they receive. Posting a photo or video can be problematic if teens post it to validate their popularity. It can easily become a social media app that inflates their self-esteem or tears it down.

Accounts are set to public by default. This means that the photos and videos shared on Instagram are public and may have location information unless privacy settings are adjusted. Hashtags can make photos even more visible to communities beyond a teen’s followers. It’s important for you to know this so you can walk your teen through the privacy settings that work for your family.

Mature content can slip in. Instagram’s Terms of Service specify that users should be at least 13 years old. They also say that users shouldn’t post partially nude or sexually suggestive photos. The terms don’t cover violence, profanity, or drugs.

Instagram is available for iOS and Android devices.

A Note about Finstagram: Recently, parents have asked me about Finstagram. Some parents aren’t sure what it is. Others have simply contacted me because they want parents to be aware of this. Finstagram isn’t an app. Instead, it’s the practice of setting up a 2nd Instagram account with the express purpose of keeping that account on the “down low.” So, it’s basically a “fake Instagram account.” You can read more about Finstagram so you can discuss it with your teens.

 

SnapchatSnapchat

Age: 13 & Up
In App Purchases: Yes
Contains Ads: Yes
Snapchat is a photo and video sharing application. It differs from other social media applications because, with Snapchat, photos and videos you send “disappear” seconds after they’re viewed. You decide how long a photo will “live” after it’s viewed.

What Teens Say
Snapchat’s creators intended the app to function as a way for users to share fun, light moments without the risk of having them go public. That’s the appeal of this app for most teens. They can send goofy or embarrassing photos to one another.

What Parents Should Know
It’s a myth that snaps go away forever. An image sent never truly goes away. The person on the receiving end can take a screenshot of the image before it disappears. Snaps can be recovered. And there are now apps which screenshot a snap. Many parents are concerned that the seemingly risk-free messaging might encourage users to share pictures containing inappropriate content. The Snapchat map feature will show users on a map if their account isn’t set to not show location.

Snapchat is available for iOS and Android devices.

 

Messaging Apps

WhatsApp

Age: 16 & Up or those under 16 with consent of parent
In App Purchases: Yes
Contains Ads: Yes
WhatsApp Messenger is a free app that lets users send text messages, videos, photos, and audio messages to their friends and family who are also using WhatsApp. Once you install the app, it checks your address book to see if anyone else you know is already using WhatsApp, and connects you automatically. The app also suggests allowing messages to be sent from your phone to those in your address book who aren’t yet using WhatsApp, encouraging them to sign up. WhatsApp’s license agreement requires users to be at least 16 years old, or have parental consent before downloading.

What Teens Say
Teens love the unlimited texting they get with WhatsApp. It’s easy to use and allows them to share photos, videos, and audio messages for free. WhatsApp has been on the app market for quite some time now.

What Parents Should Know
The app automatically connects to those using WhatsApp in your phone’s contact list. This shouldn’t be a problem; in fact, it is meant to be helpful since users must have WhatsApp in order to connect. However, it is worth mentioning. Those under 16 can use the app with parental permission.

WhatsApp is available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices.

WeChat

Age: 13 with consent of parent
In App Purchases: Yes
Contains Ads: Yes
WeChat is a mobile text and voice messaging service. In addition to making free calls, you can share videos and photos (or “Moments”), create group chats, and find new people nearby. The app is available for AndroidiOS, and several other devices, making WeChat a great option for groups or families using a variety of devices.

What Teens Say
WeChat boasts more than 200 million users and takes their services beyond straight messaging to games, stickers, and music sharing. Often users choose stickers instead of words when they need to express themselves. Many young adults and teens feel that WeChat is more personal when setting up events and get-togethers. There is also the ability to send selfies without fear of them showing up on your Facebook page. WeChat feels a bit more personal because you are connecting with one person or a smaller group.

What Parents Should Know
You must be 13 years old to have an account. And those between the ages of 13-18 are considered “minors.” As such, parents must agree to the Terms of Service for themselves and on behalf of their teen. This verbiage means that parents need to know and agree to their teen using the app, and gives parents some ability to have unauthorized accounts removed.

Their “Acceptable Use Policy” is impressive and does seem to imply that they want to keep WeChat safe. How well it is monitored, though, isn’t clear; my guess is that the burden is on users to report those who are violating the terms.

WeChat has some great messaging features. You can send messages, voice messages, and video calls. It’s a great way for families and friends to stay connected. There are a few options on WeChat that do merit discussion with your teen. Look Around allows users to locate other WeChat users within a few kilometers. Discussions of safety are key here. Shake lets users connect with other WeChat users located up to 1000km away. This feature will allow your teen to connect with unknown users. Drift Bottle lets users select a message written by another user out of a sea of bottles. They can toss it back or reply to the user. Look Around, Shake, and Drift Bottle are all going to allow teens to connect with users they don’t know.

WeChat is available for iOS, Android, Windows devices and for web.

 

Both Twitch and Steam are also huge with preteens and teens. They are not apps but are worth mentioning. You can read my Parents Guide for Twitch and my Parents Guide for Steam to learn more about them.

What apps are your teens loving? Share with us so we can expand our list of Trendy Apps for Teens!

 

Trendy Apps for Teens

2018 Trendy Apps for Teens
New apps are always hitting the market. While parents are content to stick with the tried and true apps, teens love trying the new latest apps. 
#apps #parenting

Sign up for my newsletter and get Tech Talk Conversation Cards FREE!

tech talk conversation cards

As parents we know we need to talk to our kids about technology, social media, and online safety. But, many times we just need help getting started. Tech Talk Conversation Cards can help. You’ll find over 50 questions on technology, social media, cyber-bullying and sexting.

Leave a Comment