Ever-connected teenagers, and their smartphones 23 September , 2015

Yes, it’s true that smartphone-wielding teenagers are spending more time than ever online. Some people may protest, but, honestly, is this really a bad thing? Perhaps the reason they’re uncomfortable is that the social media scene isn’t all that clear to them.

Why do teens spend their time online?
These days, parents in particular may be concerned about the amount of time teens spend in the virtual world. The good news is that this behaviour is okay. Nothing is fundamentally broken.
Actually, teens are doing pretty much what previous generations did. That is, “plugging in” when they’re around their parents. The difference is that they’re visiting social media platforms through their smartphones, rather than sticking their noses in books or slapping on headphones to listen to music.

Then there’s the social dimension. Again, this generation of teens also values time spent with other teens. Social media is a way to have that time.
As for what they do when they’re focused on their smartphone screens, again, it’s not so unfamiliar to previous generations. Interacting with friends on social media platforms is among the most popular activities.

Which social media platforms are most popular among teens?
Facebook is still the most popular platform for teens in South Africa, as well as the United Sates. Instagram and Snapchat are in second place in the US, and are evidence of a move towards a more visually-oriented preference for time spent online. The same shift is happening in South Africa, with Youtube and Instagram growing tremendously – according to the 2015 SA Social Media Landscape study.

Now what?
What does all of this mean for marketers? Simply that to connect with this generation of teens (and tomorrow’s adults), developing a visual social media as well as mobile game is essential.


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