Hottest Social App Trends for Teens

Teens stay connected with these popular apps

Social networking is constantly evolving. Gone are the days when MySpace ruled the web. Now, practically everyone's gone mobile, with more than 95 percent of teenagers having a cell phone. Real-time photos and video sharing is the trend that young people are most excited about.

Facebook has confessed it struggles to keep its younger users engaged and excited, despite once being the ultimate go-to social network of choice for young people.

So, where's the younger generation to go? They're already on their phones and tablets, of course, so they make the best of it by using the most popular social networking and messenger apps on the market. In early 2018, the top three social apps in use by teenagers were YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Kids are flocking to these by the thousands every month.


Parents should be sure to educate themselves and their teens on the dangers of online child predators. 

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Three iOS YouTube screens
What We Like
  • Huge variety of topics.

  • Innumerable amount of videos.

  • Can add commentary and reviews to videos.

  • Can save videos to a watchlist for later viewing.

What We Don't Like
  • Many videos have ads.

  • YouTube has problems with commentary and child predators.

  • No way to really filter undesirable video topics.

You might think YouTube would be the granddaddy in this bunch, but you'd be wrong. YouTube is wildly popular with teens and tweens, who visit it at a level that's almost doubled in the past three years. YouTube added a strong influencer and vlogger base to what was once primarily a passive content consumption website, and the teens love it.

In 2018, YouTube became the most popular social app among American 13- to 18-year-old teens.

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Three iOS Snapchat screens
What We Like
  • Simple interface.

  • Can take pictures or video.

  • Share your pics with friends or the public.

  • Fun avatars created through Bitmoji.

  • More real-time communication.

  • Lots of filters and lenses make chatting fun.

What We Don't Like
  • If using location, can be intrusive.

  • Ads show up in the Discover part of the app.

  • Available on mobile only.

Snapchat is a popular private messaging app known for photos and short videos that are automatically deleted after they're viewed. For teens, this "self-destructing" feature is a big part of what makes Snapchat so appealing, encouraging them to interact more frequently, safe in the knowledge that all their previous snaps disappear.

Snapchat isn't just a media-sharing app. You can even use it to send money to your friends.

Privacy, sexting, and screenshot saving have posed some issues for Snapchat, but it remains one of the hottest apps with teens.

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Three iOS Instagram screens
What We Like
  • Great place to share photos and videos.

  • Easy to post photos and videos.

  • You can edit images and add filters for visual effects.

  • Less ads than its counterparts.

What We Don't Like
  • Quite a few spam\illicit accounts.

  • Can't post clickable URLs.

Facebook may have ruled social photo-sharing on the web, but Instagram arguably rules over it on mobile devices. Although it doesn't openly share how many of its users are teens, it's not all that hard to see this mobile social platform is filled with them. All you have to do is check out the photos on the opening screen or search through some popular hashtags to get a glimpse of how young the dominant demographic truly is on Instagram.

You can connect to your Instagram account through your computer, Android, or iOS device.

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Three WhatsApp screens on iOS
What We Like
  • End to end encryption.

  • Can edit pics with clipart, filters, and more.

  • App allows two different accounts on Android.

What We Don't Like
  • App needs all parties involved to use WhatsApp.

  • Earlier versions were prone to crashes.

Lots of kids still use Facebook Messenger to get in touch with their friends, but Facebook also owns another messaging app called WhatsApp.

WhatsApp had more than one million monthly active users as of late 2017, and they're not just using the texting feature. WhatsApp also lets you post status updates, send video, share your location, and make voice and video calls over the internet. The platform is completely isolated from Facebook, so teens don't need to worry about the two overlapping.

WhatsApp is compatible with Android phones, iPhones, Macs, and Windows computers.

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Three iOS Kik Screens
What We Like
  • Can join public chat groups on a variety of topics.

  • Searchable GIFs, stickers, and more.

  • Free additional emojis available for download.

  • You can even create and send your own memes.

What We Don't Like
  • No moderation in public chatgroups.

  • Messages can be slow to send.

Like WhatsApp, Kik has become an insanely popular messaging app for teens. It's just one of the other fast and intuitive messaging apps used as an alternative to SMS texting, requiring only a username rather than a phone number.

If you take a look on Instagram, you'll notice that a lot of profiles list Kik usernames in the bios so that other Instagrammers have some way to contact them privately. 

Kik works with Android, iOS, Amazon, and Microsoft mobile devices.

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Three iOS screens from Telegram
What We Like
  • Available on a variety of platforms.

  • Encrypts your messages.

  • No ads.

What We Don't Like
  • You have to wait two minutes to receive an SMS code when getting started.

  • There can be problems when verifying a new phone.

  • Numerous reports of long delays getting access to app.

Telegram is interesting because it does a lot more than a typical texting app, and it's completely free with zero advertisements.

All the texts and phone calls are encrypted through Telegram, and you can send absolutely any file type you want—even large ones up to 1.5 GB. This is unique to most messaging apps that support image and video files.

The messages are synced across all supported devices because the messages and files are stored in the cloud. You can delete texts whenever you want and make secret chats that dissolve messages on a timer. You can also address up to 5,000 of your closest friends in one single group message.

Telegram is available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows PC, Mac, and Linux. The web version lets you access Telegram from any computer without installing the software.

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Three iOS Twitter screens
What We Like
  • Instant gratification of newsworthy or entertainment info.

  • You can choose between top trending tweets or tweets as they happen.

  • Many famous people use the app, making for interesting reading.

  • Great way to interact with your favorite TV shows via Tweet Chat.

What We Don't Like
  • Your tweets can easily get lost in the shuffle.

  • Tweets still have a character limitation.

  • Hard to keep up with feed if you follow a lot of people.

Teens have taken a liking to the Twitter microblogging social network, which is a hub for real-time news and connecting with high-profile individuals and celebrities. Because Twitter is so simple to use from a mobile device, it's convenient to access, but it's the visual component of embedded multimedia, such as photos, articles, and videos, in tweets that attracts most teens.

Users can get on Twitter from their computer, phone, or tablet. See all the different ways you can use Twitter on its apps page.

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Three iOS screens from Tumblr app
What We Like
  • Can post a blog, video, pics, and even animated GIFs.

  • Freely express yourself with blog-like posts.

  • Suggested posts help you find content related to what you just liked.

  • Little to no ads.

What We Don't Like
  • Has had problems with adult content in the past.

  • Tumblr has had some censorship complaints.

  • Hard to build a following.

Tumblr is one of the web's most popular blogging platforms, and a lot of teens have admitted to trading in their Facebook accounts for a Tumblr blog instead.

Like Snapchat and Instagram, Tumblr is largely dominated by visual content and has become a favored platform for animated GIF sharing. Although it allows its users to create blog posts in all sorts of formats, including text, audio, quote, and dialogue, it's the visual content that makes time spent on Tumblr worth it.

Tumblr can be downloaded on Android and iOS. It also works through a web browser.

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Three iOS app screens
What We Like
  • Interesting way to get to know someone.

  • Can ask anything.

  • Photo polls are a fun way to start a conversation.

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to find subjects you want to read.

  • Can't easily search for specific posts.

  • You have to follow at least three friends to earn "coins" for profile features.

ASKfm is a Q&A-based website and app that lets its users take questions from their followers, then answer them one at a time, any time they want. It gives youngsters another reason to talk about themselves other than in the comment section of their own selfies. Although ASKfm may not be as huge as Instagram or Snapchat, it's a good one to watch, for sure. With such a big interest from teens, it has the potential to become the go-to place for Q&A content.

You can use this service on the web and through the ASKfm mobile apps.

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