In a Snap
September 19, 2018
In September of 2011 the app Snapchat was released to the public. It quickly caught attention and continued growing into the renowned platform it is today. The popular app attracts 173 million users daily. It allows people to send pictures, texts and videos to others, erasing the messages moments later. The app is constantly releasing new features keeping their users up to date. Snapchat has attracted many teen users as a quick and easy way to contact their friends, but this groundbreaking new form of communication has also developed many issues with the young users it influences. Teenagers are now captivated by the idea of knowing their peers whereabouts and activities at all times. They focus on their Snap Score and their Snapstreaks as an indicator of their popularity, and it is even affecting the way they communicate with each other in person. The mobile app is changing people’s way of communicating and it all begins with a snap.
An extremely common thing for Snapchat users to do is send “streaks.” When two people snap each other continuously for a certain amount of days they accumulate a streak. A number appears next to a users name showing how many days they have snapped back and forth. “Streaks are kind of a game and if you lose your streak then nobody will send them to you anymore,” said Janiah Jones. Snap Streaks are another way of increasing one’s Snap Score (the number of snaps received and sent). This recent obsession with streaks and Snap Scores are grabbing teens focuses and putting them under pressure by their peers. “There’s a lot of pressure to keep your streaks,” said Jones.
The app has also caused countless incidents linking individuals with crimes. Interviewed high school students revealed how common it is to see illegal activity posted on peer’s stories. “A lot of the time I will see people smoking weed, smoking cigarettes, drinking or a lot of people partying. It’s just because it’ll disappear in 24 hours,” said Maren Wilkinson. According to greenfeildreporter.com, on July 4th, 2018 in Greenfield there were pictures taken containing a party with underage drinking uploaded on Snapchat. A viewer was quick to report to the police. The police arrived and the party was busted, ending with twelve teens over the age of eighteen arrested and the rest sent to juvenile detention.
Although it is easy and fairly common to communicate with people through Snapchat, the app seems to be doing more damage than good with teens communication skills.
“I think it’s harder to communicate with people on Snapchat because you can’t put emotion into your words and they can’t fully understand your message,” said Camille Eastvold. Snapchat has new filters daily that users enjoy playing, but they are becoming a problem with some users self-image. Aleena Phantharangsy, a Waukee Senior, confessed, “I find myself scared to approach people sometimes because I can use filters on Snapchat and there are no filters in real life.” Many teens find it easier to talk to others through a screen opposed to face-to-face. “I’m afraid people are gonna act differently than they do online,” told Eastvold.
Snapchat presents many positives and negatives to communication, especially with impressionable teenagers. Through Snapchats past seven years it has helped with contacting others, but it has also changed some people’s lives negatively. This form of communication makes a lasting impression and it can change everything all in a snap.