• April 3, 2020
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Many students use social media apps in their day to day life. Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are some of the most popular apps among Leesville students. (Photo Courtesy of Lyric Chassin)

Whether it’s through an iPhone, Android, tablet, laptop, or any technological device, most teenagers have had an interaction with social media apps. These apps occupy the many hours the majority of students spend on their phones.

New apps are constantly cycling through based on needs and wants. What makes an app stay in business are a few essential factors that most don’t realize they are subconsciously searching for within their apps.

Instant gratification is one of the main reasons people use apps in the first place. They go on to find entertainment, distraction, and anything else their mind desires as quickly as possible. Opening an app and instantly seeing one’s personal feed with no effort is the optimum situation for using a social media app.

This being said, another important aspect of an app is personalization. A unique experience on every app designed specifically for the viewer is bound to create an attachment. For example, social media accounts allow you to like and follow accounts that you would want to see more of. These actions adapt the accounts to fit more of your ideals and meet your demographic.

Aesthetic design is also important in the success of an app; no one wants to constantly look at an app that isn’t easy on the eyes. A clear and clean design and usage makes downloaders much more likely to keep and continue putting the app into use.

Achieving these standards is extremely easy in today’s social media realm; people will use apps as long as they can entertain them for a short amount of time. With many social apps reaching the eyes of the consumer, people spend many hours a day on their phones in order to absorb all of their apps.

Kharis Greear, a junior at Leesville, spends about 6 hours on her phone everyday. “I use it a lot for school actually, and I have a ton of heavy homework so it’s a nice break,” she said. Greear’s favorite app is Snapchat; she spends 1 and a half hours on it per day.

Maggie Salisbury, a junior at Leesville, spends about 7 hours on her phone everyday, with almost 4 of the 7 being spent on Snapchat. Salisbury sees social media as a great opportunity to connect with peers on higher and more intimate levels. “I think that teens use [social media apps] to connect with their peers, and I honestly think it can be really helpful because you can talk to your peers a lot more and connect with them emotionally,” she said. “Teenagers are so social that it makes them want to connect more;” putting peer interaction into play even when one is alone.

Yaseen Echekki, a junior at Enloe, spends 10 hours on his phone daily, with TikTok occupying over half of that time. Echekki uses social media to stay in touch with his friends no matter where he is or what he is doing. “People like to keep up with each other and know what everyone is doing,” he said.

A poll of Leesville students shows that on average, high schoolers spend an estimated 5 hours on their phones everyday. This amount of time is over a quarter of the time that students are awake in their day–social media is often a time consumer and distractor.

Greear believes that screen time regulation for teens is only possible through self control. “Parents should not enforce [screen time limits] on kids, too harshly, at least. I think you should regulate it if you want to and truly believe it,” she said.

Salisbury sets limits for herself when it comes to social media the same way she would with anything else that has addictive properties. “Part of anything is having discipline and managing yourself,” she said. “You have to use your own discipline and manage [your screen time] yourself.”

As apps continue to develop and more generations revolve around technology, standards will be set higher and consumers will be in search for more personal fulfillment. “Snapchat you view it and you are just continuously responding; TikTok videos are 15 seconds; Instagram you can move through whatever you want,” Salisbury said. Instant gratification is and always will be a constant in the app industry.

Greear hopes to see new variations of today’s apps made in the future. “[I would like to see] more to replace websites and make phones an easier alternative to computers,” she said.

Social media will continue to evolve as time goes on and will stay constant in many people’s lives. The improvement and creation of new technologies will only increase with every generation.

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