Teens and Technology – Gaming and Social Networking

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GAMING

Video games have changed massively to keep up with the evolving tech landscape.

For example, to compete with the services of phones and tablets, all new consoles now offer internet access, social media services, and other applications, such as Netflix. However, this hasn’t stopped mobile games from growing in popularity, probably due to the multitude of free games that don’t require Wifi. It’ has gotten to the point where big developers, such as Nintendo, are testing new mobile games. The result is games like “Pokemon Go” and “Fire Emblem Heroes”. All of this competition is great for teenagers, as the more competition means more games on both console and mobile and more services of higher quality.

Teenagers themselves use gaming as a social activity, whether playing and chatting online or offline. Broader and faster internet access has also lead to new gaming communities, online e-sports tournaments and the advent of streaming games, all of which teens can participate in. Nowadays, teens can make a career out of playing games professionally as a streamer or as a sponsored esports player.

While gaming consoles have become overshadowed by the mobile market, they are by no means irrelevant. Generally, teens see mobile games as ‘time-wasters’ and consoles as more ‘hardcore.’ It seems that Nintendo are trying to make the best of both worlds with the Switch, a console that has portable-play options of console games.

SOCIAL NETWORKING

75% of teenagers spend most of their time on the internet on social media sites.

It seems that many of the social media apps popular in 2011 have lost relevance. Apps such as Bebo, Skype and MySpace have disappeared and made way for newer apps. The critical mass have migrated to newer apps, the most popular ones being Snapchat and Instagram. However, people have kept Facebook, possibly because of the Messenger app or the popularity of Facebook. Twitter is also quite popular with young adults who grew up with it, and as a place where celebrities can announce news to the world.

Social media apps nowadays can be split into two categories, what I will call Messaging apps and Social apps. Messaging apps, like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, offer private chat messaging and free call services. They are trying to compete with the preinstalled SMS and Phone apps and become the first choice when someone wants to make a call.

Social apps, like Facebook and Tumblr give users the ability to share their interests, pictures and pages with everyone they are connected with. They are trying to entice users away from other competitors by offering more features, such as games, events and live videos. The most popular apps for teens, Snapchat and Instagram may be so popular because they combine the two kinds of social media, providing group chat messaging and public sharing platforms.

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Written by Jim Xi Johnson.