Teens Reveal Which App is Most Stressful

February 20, 2020

 

The other day, Lorelei (age 14) casually mentioned something about social media and said, "I posted there because it is less stressful." I know social media adds stress to their lives, but I hadn't given much thought about which platform is more anxiety producing and why. I didn't really understand what each was, and given that I've asked them about their Snapfish account, I figured it was best to turn this post over to the "experts." I'm so proud.

Their words, not mine...

Stress criteria is based on:
• how people will judge your post
• how many likes you will get
• how often it is socially acceptable to post
• who will see it

*The images are from Lorelei's accounts. I have trouble keeping up with my bank account. It's no wonder she needs help in geometry. 

Here they are in order of how stress-inducing they are, from the least to greatest...


1. VSCO:  All pictures. 
Usually only girls use it. Pictures don't need captions and you can post often without feeling like you are posting too much. Pictures are most often artsy-type shots. People can favorite a picture and follow you but no one can see this information. Also, people only favorite a picture if they want to save it, so it isn't fake in the way you can like everything on Instagram.

 

 

 

2. Tik Tok: All videos, max of one minute. 
Beyond this it is hard to explain because they include dance, funny, creative, cool finds, talents, etc. It ranks least stressful because we never feel we have to post anything and use it more for entertainment than anything else. Tik Tok shows true personalities more than the others. Also, at least for now, people seem to judge Tik Tok posts less harshly.

 

 

 

3. Instagram: Like a modern Facebook. 
You post pictures and captions. People can like every post. Feels like a marketing tool to make yourself and your life look perfect.

 

 

 

4. Snapchat: An even more informal way of communicating than texting.
Usually only used by teens. Can talk to as many people as you want. Mostly you just send pictures of your faces back and forth. It is the most stressful because people get offended if you don't snap them back, and you aren't always in the mood to show your face to people. You can also post stories and snaptext people.

 

 

 

There was some debate in my house as to which of the last two are more stressful. Serena (17) and Lorelei had Madelyn (18, away at college) on the phone, and she and her friends strongly felt Snapchat is the most stressful. Seems they are sick of it and maybe it is fading out in that age group.

Apparently, the pressure of a snap back (or something) is getting annoying. They don't use Facebook or Twitter, so only you can determine how stressful they are if you are old, like me, and have accounts on both. I know social media is very useful, I know it can be a lot of fun, and I know it can be a great marketing tool.

What I don't know is what the cumulative damage of an adolescence spent on screen and watching screens will do to our children's ability to focus, their value system and their self esteem. I'm going to try and keep an open mind, and hope that the fact they had not problem grading and characterizing the stress inducing properties of the different social media platforms is a good sign they will be able to self-monitor and adjust as needed. They will need to be able to adapt to our high tech world as quickly as apps are developed and maybe this is good practice. I couldn't do it, but even without the chance to hone these savvy skills, I am ever grateful I didn't grow up with the world as my audience ... parents and friends was hard enough.

 

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About Dr. Karen Latimer

I’m a family physician now struggling to take care of a bunch of kids who keep calling me Mom. When I’m not wiping butts, refereeing sibling rivalry and chauffeuring over-scheduled little people, I write a family medical blog that gives you five thoughts on all sorts of different health topics.