Hot New Apps Among Gen Zers
When it comes to the coolest apps it is easy to fall behind. Social media behemoths like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat continue to be a force. But as more and more people migrate to these platforms—including advertisers—habits change. Young people look for the next best cool thing, or the application with less digital clutter, and move on.
The challenge for ministry leaders and for parents is to keep up. Not every new application is safe, healthy, or good. Different apps require the application of diverse wisdom for using technology well.
Andrea Cruikshank of USA Today highlights these six increasingly popular apps among Gen Zers (as of the date of this writing!):
Fortnite: Battle Royale
How many have you heard of?
Fortnite has been hard to miss. But the rest may not be on your radar. So while Cruikshank provides excellent detail on each of the apps (including virtuous and potential vicious uses), I’ll offer a much more condensed overview.
First, Tik Tok is a streaming video app. It has several features. You can record short videos where you can lip-sync to musical clips, or you can edit your recordings with stickers and other overlays. You can keep your profile private and connect only with a small group of friends, or remain public, allowing anyone to view your videos. There are some parental controls, but the privacy setting is not among them.
Second, there is Live.me. It is a live- streaming video app. It’s also rated 17+. Why? Because there is access on the app to crude humor and sexual imagery. It is addictive, not only because it involves a screen, but because it provides constant live-action videos, which tend to draw more eyeballs. While Live.me bills itself as an app that is intended to help you get noticed, meet friends, connect with celebrities, and establish your own personal brand, some will view it as more of a portal for narcissism, an unhealthy time-suck that can damage confidence and healthy self-esteem.
Third, we look at Lineplay. This is a social gaming app. Cruikshank describes it as “adorable.” You can complete quests, join on adventures, and upgrade your avatar. You can also chat with other users and connect with friends. One thing to watch out for on this app: there is a “nearby” feature, which could be a privacy concern. Not only might players connect with strangers nearby by enabling location services, the parent company of the application is also likely to be tracking that data.
Fourth, Spotafriend. Cruikshank says this app is “Tinder for teens.” Basically, that means you create a profile and share it with the network. Other users are then able to view your profile and swipe to indicate if they'd like to connect with you or not. You get to do the same thing. Is this good? You will have to decide whether there are better ways for your child to make friends.
You’ve likely heard of Fortnite: Battle Royale. It’s a multiplayer combat game. It’s cool and immensely popular. Each player gets to customize their own look, and you can play as an individual or as part of a small team. Basically, 100 players (each individual is on their computer, smartphone, or game system) are dropped into the same combat zone where they can collect weapons or other battle implements, and they fight it out until there is one person (or one small team) standing. You can find more here from NBC News.
Lastly, there is Twitch. This app is known as a hub for live-streaming video game play. So, you can stream your online interactions as a gamer, or you can watch others play. You should also know that there is a feature in the app that allows users to chat privately with one another.
Do you know of another app that is currently popular with Gen Zers? Share in the comments. If there is something you’d like us to research, just let us know.