Snapchat and Social Interactions | Carson McCloskey

It’s a well known fact that teenagers everywhere spend the majority of their time on their phones, with their attention grasped by Snapchat, an app dedicated to sharing photos, videos, and texts with friends. Snapchat has not only kept teens addicted to their phones, it has also changed the way social interactions happen: something that used to come naturally has now become an artificial way of communicating with each other. 

Snapchat allows people to talk to each other via pictures and texts that disappear after the receiver has viewed it, allowing for more privacy and security. This would account for the large appeal to Snapchat by teens, as all teens really want when talking to friends is some privacy to speak their minds without social repercussions. Snapchat has created a foundation for this, causing teens to get sucked into the app: talking to their friends over a screen, claiming that these online conversations are actually creating unbreakable bonds. How can a few messages shared over text be seen as meaningful or sincere? These messages can be a source for teens to open up about themselves to someone and have it be erased from both devices once the receiver has seen it, making teens more comfortable in talking about issues they wouldn’t feel confident discussing in person (or over text that can’t be deleted). This allows teens to get closer to one another--yet their conversations and closeness rely purely on an app, and not natural, in-person social interactions.

In-person social interactions are something that usually comes naturally to the teenage brain, yet this app has made it much more difficult for teens to talk to each other in-person. What they say online is something private and secure. They say things online because they can't see the other person's face, they can't see how it affects the other person and the other person can't see how it affects the sender. Teens are able to create a message that may have taken them 10 minutes to perfect with the right words that probably would not be the first thing they came up with to say, whereas in person, you can’t do that. In-person, your brain has to think on the spot, and conversations become a lot more awkward when there’s nothing to say. What do you say to someone when you see them at school the day after you explained your whole life story to them in a picture perfect way over an app? 

In-person social interactions for teenagers have been shaped into strange and awkward conversations as neither party knows exactly what to say to each other. Snapchat can create a safe space for teens to unapologetically be themselves, but that safe space disappears once you’re face to face with someone. The majority of teens are more focused on talking to people over Snapchat then in-person, completely altering their social skills. Yet no matter how Snapchat has been changing social interactions, teenagers refuse to give up the app that they consider to be the best thing to ever happen to them.