My sister is 14 years old — and constantly glued to her phone.
She and I are both iPhone users, but the apps I can’t live without don’t seem to demand the same kind of time commitment as hers do.
The apps my sister uses are all about communication. While Venmo, Google Maps and the Chase app are super important to me, my 14-year-old sister is far less concerned with convenience and far more concerned with getting in touch with people.
Here are the apps this particular teenager — and many others like her — can’t live without.
Ever since Snapchat launched its streaks feature, having long streaks has gotten so important that my sister is constantly Snapchatting to maintain her streaks. Texting through the Snapchat app is also a popular option, especially since the messages disappear. My sister claims Snapchat is a great way to keep up with friends, especially her camp friends that live far away. Not only that, Snapchat's 'Discover' page is her primary news source.
Gone are the days of memorising your best friend's phone number or racing to the ringing home phone before your parents could pick it up. It's all about FaceTime now and my sister seems to constantly talk to people on it. In fact, for a short amount of time, our Apple IDs got mixed up and my phone was blowing up with my sister's friends trying to contact her via FaceTime. She's a big fan of the app and claims she uses it to 'study' with her friends.
When my sister started high school back in September, she quickly learned she had to get on Facebook. But for her, it has nothing to do with posting pictures or status updates. My sister is on Facebook because many of the clubs she is part of, including Model United Nations and the high school newspaper, use Facebook and Facebook Messenger to communicate information about deadlines and meeting times.
For large group chats, teens use GroupMe. For my sister, that means her soccer team and other big groups can communicate with each other through this app. When I asked her why she didn't just use Facebook Messenger like she does for her extracurriculars, her answer was simple: 'No one uses Facebook Messenger for groups.'
Musical.ly is a popular app made for DIY music videos (see above). For my sister, who was a competitive dancer in middle school, this app can turn a boring Friday night with her friends into a dance party. One of her friends has even been featured on the Musical.ly homepage a few times (apparently that's a big deal). My family and I have been forced to star in her music videos before.
From what I can see, Instagram is the holy grail of apps for teens. My sister, like so many teens, has both a real Instagram account (with pictures of her family, friends, vacations and so on) and a Finstagram account (a private account for embarrassing pictures just to be shared with close friends). Her real Instagram has nearly 900 followers (her high school only has 400 students) and she can spend hours scrolling through her news feed watching videos and looking at photos.
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If you're going to have a great Instagram account, you need apps to help you edit your Instagram posts. The first app my sister uses is Flipagram, which makes it easy to create picture and video slideshows like the example above.
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