What's a TV? The viewing habits of a connected generation

I don’t have a television. All I have is Netflix and Apple TV and Hulu.
— Bojana Novakovic (Actress)

If we were to say Netflix, or Now TV, or Amazon Prime Instant Video, or Sky GO, you'd likely know exactly what they are and, just as likely, have a subscription to at least one of these. 

Yes, these are streaming platforms - offering subscribers a plethora of movies and shows to watch from the comfort of their homes, or out and about via mobile devices. What is interesting about them is how, in a markedly small amount of time, they have changed the viewing habits of multiple generations. Terms such as "binge watching" and "cord-cutting" have become well known - and for good reason too! 

Just one more


Perhaps the most notable change to people's viewing habits is the "binge watching" phenomenon. This is where people watch between 2 - 6 episodes of a series in one sitting (the number actually exceeding this in many cases). For some series this is the same as watching three films one after the other. 

In fact, binge watching has become so notable that Netflix has carried out there own research and created a binge scale! 😮

While this all sounds like fun (who wouldn't want to spend 6 hours just watching some great TV series?) health experts are beginning to fear mental and physical ramifications from this.

Research suggests that binge watching shows can cause back pain, weight gain and promote lethargy. Additionally, there are fears of addiction (yes - you can now become addicted to watching TV shows), depression (apparently we become a little blue after a series ends), and strong feelings of emptiness and loneliness forcing watchers to start the cycle all over again. 

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The effect in schools

Considering the above it comes as little surprise that the 'Netflix effect' is affecting young learners in school. A recent study shows that the average pupil (12 - 16) will have 6.5 hours a night sleep. Now, with Netflix and the like, this average has dropped lower. 

A Huffington Post article reports that:

teens who went to bed later than 11:30 p.m. on school nights and 1:30 a.m. in the summer had lower GPAs [grades] than teens who got to bed earlier. They were also more susceptible to emotional problems.

Obviously it would be fruitless to ask your pupils to stop watching Netflix altogether! However, it is something that should be highlighted in schools. If something as simple as watching a few less episodes a night could have a positive effect on their futures and mental wellbeing, it is fully worth educating them on the damage binge watching can cause.

Televisions join the relics list

It may sound bizarre but 1 in 20 families are now ditching their TVs. For some this is to break away from the onslaught of tech and digital - perhaps opting for less time on the couch and more time outside. For the majority though, the ditched TV is being replaced by laptops, Smartphones and tablet devices. 

This trend is suggesting that the television - a staple in almost every household since the 90's - is beginning to be phased out; potentially joining the same list that homes VHS video cassettes; music tapes; CDs; cameras, that take actual film; and fax machines. 

While this movement may well be cut short, by new innovations to the quality of televisions (with 3D, UltraHD and 4K screens already in the offering), it does raise the question of what will happen to shows that are aired - not streamed. Will these services fall by the wayside as the freedom to pick and watch what you desire (without the aggro of advertisements on top) takes preference? Will all television sets have streaming services fully integrated into them (many Smart TVs already utilise apps that include Amazon Instant Video and Netflix)? Will the very nature of waiting a week for the next episode (when will Game of Thrones be back!!!) end as entire series are released all at once (something that is already being seen - particularly with Amazon and Netflix exclusive titles)?

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It all adds up to some interesting thoughts but, unlike the next episode, I guess we are going to have to wait and see if people can really do without TVs!


As a digital marketing company trends such as this are incredibly thought-provoking. It shows just how much influence something such as digital streaming can have on what many would say would never change! What are you thoughts on all this? Do you prefer a lengthy session on Netflix over the usual one episode a week format? Comment below.


The great irony of the #DigitalDetox, but why we should all try it!

There is no Wifi in the forest, but we promise you will find a better connection.
— Anon

It's almost half-term over here in Blighty. That means for many of our readers an opportunity to plan, mark and catchup on schoolwork. We know that work for a teacher never ends but have you considered taking a few days to just unplug from the tech-driven world? This article looks at the benefits of a #DigitalDetox (and brushes past the irony of how you are reading about it 😮)

A world of digital

We live in the digital world. That is simple, pure fact. Statistics show that large percentages of the world regularly use a digital tool in one way or another. In fact, in a world closing in on 7.4 billion people, 3.4 billion of these are internet users. That is a phenomenal 46%. Yes, 46% of the entire world is using digital in just one form. 

These statistics continue with their craziness. In 1995, for example, just 1% of the world used the internet. Admittedly these were dark ages of internet connectivity; the days of dial-up modems [shudder].

Numbers continued to increase rapidly, in fact they were up tenfold between 1999 and 2013. The first billion users were reached in 2005, the second in 2010 and the third in 2014. That is 2 billion more people using the internet in less than 10 years! 

Time for a break

So, with so many of us glued to our smart phones and computer screens is there a point where we should just take a step back. A point where we remember what life is like, you know...out there (and no, sorry people, Pokémon GO does not count)? 

Enter the Digital Detox, a term filled with unerring irony but one of notable consequence! Why ironic? Well, let us tell you! We are willing to bet that less than 1% of people who have heard this term heard it through organic word-of-mouth. The other 99.9% read it online somewhere. On 5th August 2016, the term began to trend on Twitter. Companies who offer genuine Digital Detox retreats and treatments all advertise online. Google images is awash with pictures of trees, beaches and sunsets pasted over with inspiring Digital Detox quotes. The plain truth is that being able to switch of from digital requires you to be plugged in first.

Why we should Detox from tech

But what is a Digital Detox, really? You'll be pleased to hear it doesn't mean you'll be chugging pints of apple cider vinegar, honey and cinnamon or eating a pallet of go-go-gadget berries. No, it isn't that kind of detox; though chances are you will be slightly healthier afterwards. The Oxford Dictionary coins the term as:

A period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.

It may not seem like much but how many of us can say we absolute clarity the last time they went without using their phone or computer, telly or games device, or even their Casio Calculator watch for longer than 24 hours? Probably not many - let's be honest. 

So with digital taking up so much of our lives - one study suggesting that surfing the web on devices can make up 25 hours a week for a majority of people (more than: One. Whole. Day!) - perhaps no time is better than now to say:

I am done with digital. No more shall I be a slave to the machine. No more will I buy shoes from my bed or tell my nan over in Oz that she has a painted her front room a bonza shade of blue. No! Today marks the last day digital has a say in my life...well, for a little while anyway.

Excellent, feeling excited? Nervous? Should you quickly Google sweaty palms and palpitations? No, it is fine. You'll be fine. Honest. So, let's go...Oh wait. What do we do? 

Put the phone down - it will all be OK

Well, the answer to that is surprisingly simple. Sure there are guides, and suggestions, and blogs, and all sorts out on there on the digital waves. But let's make it easy:


...minus the need to Tweet about it or trying to squeeze it between Netflix and email replies. This is a chance to reconnect with the physical world and the people you know and love. Grab the kids, or your parents, or your friends (whoever they may be) and take them on a walk through your closest woods. If you are lucky enough to be near a beach take a stroll along the shoreline. No woods or beaches? Fine, find a field or a nice hill to leave you breathless. Heck, explore your neighbourhood. Go for a coffee in that place you walk past everyday but have only just noticed the name. Look! Did you know your neighbour had a palm tree in their front garden? No? You've only lived opposite them for 8 years. 

Don't wanna go outside? It's ok. This is all about de-stressing and finding yourself in a world that is larger than a screen that fits in your hand. Drink tea. Read a book. Knit. Do yoga. Take arty photos on that dusty old analogue camera (just make sure it has film). It is all good and it is all for you


The bottom line is this. Yes, we are more  more social. Yes, we are more connected. Yes, we are a breath away from being on the pulse of pretty much anything at anytime. However, we are falling headfirst into the risk of becoming dependent on these factors. Studies show that phones are the first thing 80% of people check as soon as they wake up. There is something really quite scary about that number! Put it into perspective. There are 50 couples. Each morning 80 of those 100 will go straight for their phone while just 20 will perhaps give each other a cuddle or chat to one another when they wake up. For all the social connectivity digital allows there is a worrying trend that simple, face-t0-face connectivity is taking a hit. 

So, do you feel that there are some truths to what you have read? Could you do with a little detox and experience reality again for just a little while? It doesn't have to be dramatic or for life. But it could have a really positive effect on your day-to-day life.


We would love to hear your views about this blog piece and your experiences or thoughts of Digital Detoxes. Please comment below.

The GIF(t) of Drama

Acting is everybody’s favourite second job.
— Jack Nicholson

We love technology and the power that digital can bring to education and teaching. It is truly amazing to see all the breakthroughs that have been made to better integrate tech, an undeniably gargantuan aspect of modern day-to-day living, into the classroom. 

To this end we have come up with an exciting new idea aimed largely, but not exclusively, at the performing arts. This idea revolves around the humble GIF, a type of file that can support both static and animated images.

*Disclaimer: Interactive Schools was filmed in front of a live studio audience.*

To show off what we mean we have created some of our own GIFs using the Interactive Schools team. OK, so we might not be taking the Oscar from Leonardo DiCaprio at next year's ceremony but it highlights perfectly what can be done. Filming and converting all of the videos to GIFs below took less than an hour from start to finish.

While GIFs have been around for quite a while, their popularity has soared in recent years. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook were quick to allow GIFs to be posted easily and efficiently, meaning that they have an international reach ranging into the billions. This forum for sharing thoughts, humour and entertainment makes the GIF a fantastic source for inspiration, and some may argue it has become an art form.

So why not make GIF creation a part of the performing arts? In Drama lessons, for example, you could arrange sessions where learners come up with and record their own reaction GIFs. Emotions such as anger, fear, disgust, joy and sadness (or the cast of Inside Out) can be turned into nifty little files, which can be shared with ease across social media or to anyone with a Smartphone. 

How Do I Make an Animated GIF?

If anything above looks complicated, fear not! Making GIFs is a pretty easy process. The only thing you will need really is a computer (and possibly internet access; depending on the option that best suits you). Luckily most computers come with the software you need to convert video files into a GIF. If not, they can be done online through a host of different websites.

WikiHow has an excellent tutorial covering the basics for three different methods (Photoshop, Online converters and Windows GIF Converter). Check out the link to gain some insight into the GIF creating world. 

Failing that, why not ask the students to create the GIFs themselves, effortlessly blending performing arts and ICT into one project! 💪

So there you have it! GIFs for drama. But don't think this is where it ends - oh no! This is just the start. Start thinking outside the box.

Here are a few ideas we thought up:

  • What about GIF profile pics for you, the teaching staff? These can be part of the school website or be integrated into external communications such as newsletters. What better way to give a snippet of your personality than in a tiny clip?
  • Take this even further - a digital, GIF fuelled yearbook! How cool would it look to have a digital copy of your final year at school and every single image is animated (just imagine what Hogwarts' year book would like and you'll be on the right track).
  • School projects - add a new element into school work by asking students to create GIFs around the subject. Remember, a GIF is not just a video file converted into something else. Instead they could create a series of images and merge them to make an animation. Biology and the migration of birds anyone?
  • Capture your school's top sporting moments! Remember that screamer of a free-kick that won the county shield or the school record-breaking high jump on Sports Day? These are the moments that you want to share - so why not share them as GIFs? You may ask why not video, well: GIFs are smaller, easier to share and have something a little special and alternative about them. At the end of the day it is preference, but something worth taking note of. 😎

Using GIFs online

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As we noted above, GIFs are widely used across the web - particularly social media. Facebook and Twitter allow them to be used freely as part of a post - just upload them as a normal image. In fact, Twitter has Giphy integrated into its posting / Tweet platform. Giphy is a huge archive filled with, yeah you guessed it, GIFs! All you need to do to use this feature on Twitter is:

  1. Go to Compose Tweet
  2. Type your Tweet as normal (e.g. I can Tweet using GIFs all day long)
  3. Click the GIF icon at the bottom
  4. Type in a keyword or two to search for the type of GIF you want (e.g. excited, or sad, or "OH YEAH")
  5. Once you see the gem you desire click it. It will then upload to your Tweet. Don't forget to click the Tweet button 😉

Nailed it! Well done.

We had great fun creating the Interactive Schools GIFs for you and hope they inspire some interesting and creative projects within your school. We would love to hear about them or any ideas you may have regarding GIFs. Please comment below.

How teens use #SocialMedia (written by actual teenagers) [PART 2]

Hi there, and welcome back to this article. Last week we looked at Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.

The list doesn't end there! So, let's continue on from where we left it...


Pinterest - created 2010

Pinterest is another type of photo sharing website, where memes and funny photos related to a specific topic you are searching can be compiled into albums for your viewing pleasure. It has 10.3 million UK users, and 100 million active users globally. It is a fairly private way to look at images relating to your areas of interests, create albums full of these pictures and tend to provide a place to store visual ideas for upcoming events such as weddings and parties.

How We Use It

We used to use it to look up what is essentially extra content for films, television and literature. The hand drawings of characters or moments from the entertainment branch of choice (commonly referred to as fan art) allows you to see scenes from other perspectives, or branch out and think about what may have occurred afterwards which the writers did not include in the final cut. 

As far as we know, not many of our friends use it, or if they do, it is not discussed with the same enthusiasm and frequency of more popular social channels, such as Facebook or Instagram. We have only ever talked about Pinterest with two people, a girl our age who was planning a themed party and showed us her album on the theme, and our 21 year old friend who is planning her wedding. Being able to save photos to create a visual aesthetic is very helpful in these scenarios, but perhaps does not relate to everyday use.


That being said, it is one of the more peaceful forms of social media. You cannot explicitly express opinions, insult other people, or generally cause drama. 

The feeling of using Pinterest is that of calm, and a group of people seeing each other's visual interests, without having a judgement to hand out. From that angle, it is preferable when you want to indulge in the casual viewing of your favourite things, without having to present a perfect facade or put up with other people’s opinions of you. Because of this non-confrontational environment, it does not apply to anyone who is just on social media to observe the ‘beef’ that goes down between your friends. 

Possibly the lack of viable gossip that can come from Pinterest makes it less appealing to teenagers because, for all our efforts to appear to the older generations as people who are clued in to current events and more than just children with attitude, we do all love a good bit of gossip and tension.

Snapchat - created 2011

Teens love snapchat. We are yet to meet a teenager who does not like Snapchat. The fun filters, fact that it only lasts 10 seconds (unless someone does the dreaded screenshot) and the ability to have a ‘Snapchat Story’ all appeals to teens immensely, and unsurprisingly 10 million people use it in the UK and 600 million worldwide. 


Many adults have a preconceived idea of how teens use Snapchat, which is that its original purpose is not quite as innocent as the much-loved Snapchat dog filter. 

The way in which teens use Snapchat is completely different than some adults believe, as most teenagers use it to send a 1-10 second snapshot of their day to their friends, whether that be an ugly selfie featuring your 3 chins or a 10 second video of your friend dancing like there is no tomorrow. 


The fairly new addition to Snapchat of filters is a game changer. Being able to turn yourself into a chubby bear or enlarge your nose to half the size of your face is hilarious and makes a plain picture or video significantly more interesting and amusing for both the person sending the Snapchat and the person receiving it and this is why we love it.


Snapchat Stories are a function which allows you to add snaps to your story and they will remain there for 24 hours and then will disappear. This is great because you may want to share a funny video on social media but you do not want it to stay there forever, so Snapchat allows you to share it with your friends for 24 hours so they all see it but then it disappears. This allows you to update the people close to you on what exciting or not so exciting things you are doing in your life, almost instantly.


Snapchat also forces you to add your friends in order to be able to send them snapchats or view their story, so teens like this because it means it’s safer to use.

LinkedIn - created 2002

LinkedIn is a platform upon which you can network professionally, and for this reason, out of the 10 million UK users and 414 million global users, we are not one of them. 


It is a site where you can connect with people you have worked with, gone to school with or know professionally. Strangers cannot connect with each other and for this reason it seems like a private way to network. It also is an easy way to find potential employees. It appears that LinkedIn is a recruiter's first port of call when looking for potential hires. 

Many people have suggested for us to get a LinkedIn profile, the sooner the better, but we have always been a bit wary, as it seems like such a definitive step towards Our Future. We’re sure we will get a profile, and soon, but not right now. 

Our Opinion

From what we know, none of our friends use it, and the youngest person we know on it is a 20 year old who tried to make us get profiles so that he had another connection. So while it is a professional website used to make business connections, perhaps there is still an aspect of trying to gain popularity, much like Facebook.

Tumblr - created 2007

Tumblr is a channel through which you can express your opinions in an almost completely anonymous way, share photos and videos, and has the connotation to be linked to fandoms and obsessions. It is used by 9 million people in the UK, has 550 million monthly global users, and 69% of users are millenials. 

While it is one of the older Social Channels, being just over 9 years old, it is only used by 14% of teenagers, and is a fairly small community. It has a lot of anonymity as your blog does not have to be tied to you in any way, and unless you explicitly put your name, no one knows who you are and cannot identify you other than by your blog name. 

It is a more private experience, as not many people will share their Tumblr blog name with their friends. 


People use it to spread awareness about things they think are important, for example over the last week (July 2016) there have been many postings about Brexit and police brutality in the USA. 

Other people use it to, in a similar fashion to Pinterest, find extra content and fan art about the entertainment sources they particularly enjoy. People often go on Tumblr for mindless entertainment. 

A lot of the blog posts are merely reblogs of what other people have said that has particularly struck you and that you want on your blog. It is fairly interactive as well, with the ability to comment on other people’s posts when you reblog. These sorts of interactions are often screenshotted and posted on Facebook or Instagram due to their entertainment value. 

Another way people interact with each other is through the ability to send Asks to particular admins, which you like or have a question for. The ability to send them anonymously makes people bold enough to actually ask what they want rather than trying to present themselves in any set way.


It is a fairly private and secure method to express your opinion and find entertainment since it cannot be linked back to you. We really enjoy using Tumblr because it is an easy way to remind ourselves of our favourite moments from either media or literature that we have enjoyed, and the humour that comes out from random reblogs leads to hours of endless fun. 

We only know of two friends who have Tumblr, and every time one of them pops up on our Newsfeed, we die a little in embarrassment. It really is a safe place where people can feel free to say what they want and post what they feel like posting with no judgement because out of the 9 million users in the UK, someone will feel the same way as you and reblog your post in camaraderie.

Vine - created 2013

Vine is an app used to record and share 6 second videos and is highly popular among teens, as 71% of vine users are millennials, whilst only 28% of people on Vine are adults between 18-24.


Vine appeals to teens because we live in a world where there is never enough time and we expect things to be instant, so being able to watch a video which lasts less than 6 seconds is perfect for us. 

We also tune out very easily and incredibly quickly but in a Vine, there is not enough time for you to be able to start daydreaming about what’s for lunch later, so you pay more attention and do not get bored. For this reason, although we do not use Vine as an app, we often watch Vines, which pop up on our Facebook feeds.


Vine is also a great place for people to share their short videos with a large platform for anyone to see, which is great for musicians, for example, who can post a vine of themselves singing and hopefully people will like it and potentially share it, so their profile is boosted and they may gain support.


Vine has produced people called ‘Viners’ who have created lots of popular Vines, which has actually resulted in them becoming famous, similar to YouTubers.

Flickr - created 2004

We have never, in our lives, used Flickr. As far as we know, none of our friends have used it either. 


Despite our lack of knowledge about it, it has 112 million global users, and 1 million photos are shared per day. Flickr’s description of itself is “the best online photo management and sharing application in the world. Show off your favourite photos and videos to the world”. 

It seems like a relatively easy and painless method of sharing your photos and videos. It appears as if a variety of organisations use it, including libraries, museums, universities and businesses. The easy availability of the photos once put on Flickr makes it a popular option to enhance a company’s publicity. 

Periscope - created 2015

Periscope is Twitter’s live-streaming video app and although it was only created just over a year ago, it has 10 million users worldwide. Despite this, we are yet to use Periscope or to hear of any of our friends using it.

Our Opinion

Periscope seems to be an easy way for people to tweet out a link to their live stream, with it either being public or private, and then people can view it. 

We can see how this may appeal to people as it resembles watching live television and as Periscope is still fairly new compared to the other dinosaurs of social media, such as Facebook, which have been around a lot longer, maybe Periscope is the next big thing.

Final Thoughts

Overall, social media is used by the majority of teens and for the ones who use it, it plays a fairly key part of their day-to-day lives. Yet every teen will use social media slightly differently. 

However, speaking from our perspective, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and YouTube are the forms of social media we use the most, as we use these channels to communicate, share and cure boredom. We feel the stereotype that all teenagers are vain and obsessed with how other people perceive them, whilst holding a grain of truth, is exaggerated. 

For example, whilst we will post the occasional edited selfie on Instagram and we’re happy when it receives many likes, we don’t spend hours a week trying to find the perfect angle, the perfect lighting and the perfect pout. Most teenagers use social media in some way or another and gradually more and more adults are joining the social stratosphere. 

With the great diversity of people using social media in their own, individual ways, this is what makes social media interesting, diverse and constantly changing. 

Thank you for reading this article. It offers such an interesting and candid view from a huge portion of social media users. We hope you are able to take something away from this, and would love to hear your thoughts and comments below. 😃

How teens use #SocialMedia (written by actual teenagers) [PART 1]

Within this blog post, we hope to show you a candid view into how we, two 16 and 17 year old teenage girls, living in the South East of England, view social media and how it is used by us and our friends.


The majority of teenagers in our modern world today use social media and it plays a huge role in their daily lives. On the other hand, the way in which they use social media greatly differs to the way in which most adults utilise social media, in both the sites that they choose to go on and the way in which they use them. 

Most teens use social media as a means of communicating with friends, whether that be through sending a Snapchat using the bee filter, so their voice seems to have jumped 3 octaves higher, or by posting a ‘candid’ photo on Instagram which only took 20 tries to get. For this reason, teenagers generally prefer different forms of social media to adults, as they try to communicate using the social media platforms, which are fun, quick and easy to use. This therefore explains Snapchat's increasing popularity amongst teens because it is instantaneous and amusing to mess around with, whilst Facebook is being used less and less by teens as they can get more visual, safer experiences elsewhere, without their mum commenting on every single photo that they are tagged in. 

There are many preconceptions linked with how teenagers use social media channels, from the expectation that teenagers are deprived and send inappropriate photos to each other over Snapchat or that they harass adults on Facebook for expressing what teens believe are ‘outdated’ opinions. Even within the social group of teenagers there are stereotypes attached with how we use social media. For example, when going through Facebook or Instagram, every 15-18 year old is dreading the inevitable encounter with a ‘Twelvie’, that one friend everyone has who is twelve and thinks they are the coolest person in the world. They regularly post pictures of themselves with the caption ‘I didn’t choose the thug life, the thug life chose me’. The pictures tend to consist of poses which cause scorn and second hand embarrassment from the older teenagers, mainly because they remember a time when they thought that was a cool thing to do. 

Likewise, even within the older branch of teens, we dread running into that one friend who has very strong opinions and is not afraid of saying them, whether that be through a post on Instagram with a caption a mile long or 100+ seconds on a Snapchat story ranting about some injustice they encountered that they just had to mention. This became particularly prevalent in the lead up to and the aftermath of the EU Referendum…#Brexit. Certainly in our school common room, you couldn’t go five minutes before someone closed their apps and locked their phones in disgust, professing that ‘Suddenly everyone’s a politician’.

Most Popular Types of Social Media in the UK (In Order of Popularity) and How We Use Them:

Facebook - created 2004

Facebook is the most popular social media channel on every ranking website and the stats are unsurprising. There are 32 million UK users and 1.65 billion users globally. It is one of the few types of social media which has an age restriction, as you must be at least 13 years old to create an account, yet, it is easy to alter your age on Facebook, which commonly happens. At our school, the only education we received on social media was concerning Facebook, as it was blocked on the Internet for anyone who was under the age of 13 to encourage this restriction.


The ability to input status updates, which inform everyone on your Friends List what your thoughts are about certain topics, where you are, what you are doing and recently, even how you feel about that, with the ability to input a choice from a list of emotions with corresponding emoji faces (in case the words feeling angry aren’t obvious enough, the small red pouting face makes it abundantly clear that you are not happy). Along with just a written word, you can input pictures or tag your location to a map.


Many see Facebook as the easiest form of communication and keeping updated with how the friends you rarely see are doing, particularly teens. 

A common phrase bandied about by teens is “going on a Facebook Stalk”, which implies a lack of security and privacy. Whilst there are methods to find out private information about people including their phone number or email, unless the person has weak privacy settings, all you can see is whether you have mutual friends and their profile picture. 

Whilst this tends to be a bit annoying to the girls stalking the guy they met at Starbucks, the lack of photos and information available for those who are not friends on Facebook is reassuring and fairly secure. 

Our Opinion

Personally, we use Facebook mainly as a way to communicate in group chats and to post the occasional photo album. The documenting of life events is very useful since one of our families lives in the USA and this way there is only the responsibility of having to respond to comments on the pictures/statuses rather than replying to long emails and attaching photos. Therefore, being able to see what is going on in our family’s lives makes Facebook the clear winner. 

Many of our friends, however, who live in the same town or city as their extended family, find the Facebook presence of their parents or grandparents horrendously embarrassing. They prefer the anonymity of other social channels, as they are more private.

Personal Image

Personal image is something that is not stringently edited on Facebook, a fact that over the last year or so we have realised is actually extremely important. The yearly lecture the Sixth Form get from our Deputy Head of School saying that anything you post on a social channel you should be happy for future employees to see, only really became an actual warning once it became more popular for future employees to look up their possible hires on Facebook. 

Now, we tend not to post anything that an incredibly religious and conservative Grandma would not approve of but we often see articles or hear stories about people who thought it would be funny to post an embarrassing photo of their friend drinking at a young age and consequently, that person has been rejected in a job application.

Due to all of these methods for people to essentially look into your brain and see out of your eyes, it can be seen as one of the most invasive social channels out there. Whilst many people do censor what they are saying and present a more polished persona of themselves, others allow this platform to be a place where they candidly express their opinions or images of themselves or others, despite the negative backlash this could have. The ability for people to form an opinion of you based upon your Social Media presence and persona is most obviously done through Facebook.

YouTube - created 2005

YouTube is the top website for uploading and viewing videos with there being 19.1 million users in the UK and 1.3 billion people using it globally. This is hardly surprising, as it provides a space for people to easily share content with a huge audience, which they have either created or filmed and viewers can find almost any video that they want to watch, all in one place.


More and more people prefer to watch something visual to read and teens are no different. Watching a ‘BuzzFeed’ video on the weird ways in which some fruit and vegetables grow (pineapple grows in the ground?!) appeals to us much more than reading a 1000 word article about it, with at best two photos. This is because we can be passive and relax, whilst still being informed and teens live up to the role our mums give us of being ‘incredibly lazy’.

‘YouTubers’ and ‘Vloggers’

‘YouTubers’ and ‘Vloggers’ are words which did not even exist in our vocabulary 12 years ago and adults still fail to believe that they are proper jobs, yet a huge number of teens use YouTube to watch ‘YouTubers’ who have created content for their channel and viewers, which can range from gaming videos to beauty tutorials. 

Many of these ‘YouTubers’ also ‘vlog’ their day, which means they carry out their day-to-day lives whilst filming it and uploading it to YouTube. This appeals to teens as there is something fascinating about being able to see what someone does in their normal life, behind closed doors, similarly to how we read the Daily Mail to catch up on the latest celebrity gossip... because who doesn’t love a bit of gossip?


Most of the teens who go on YouTube will at some point use it to watch Justin Bieber’s latest steamy music video or catch up on Beyonce’s audio for her new album, as you can listen to songs for free and watch their music videos which is quick and simple.


The huge numbers of celebrity interviews on YouTube are also incredibly great to watch and appeals to teens, which we realised after spending an hour watching Zac Efron interviews. 


A negative aspect of YouTube is that once a creator has posted a video, if it is slightly controversial or offensive, this could cause problems for them later on in their life, such as when applying for a job.

Twitter - created 2006

Twitter is seen as a way to express opinions in only 140 characters. There are 15 million users in the UK and 645.75 million globally.

Anonymity and Personal Image

There is a sense of anonymity attached with Twitter, as your followers consist often of strangers and some friends. This feeling of security enables people to be as forthcoming as they choose in their tweets, and in a society where extreme opinions are censored, Twitter has become a platform to post any controversial views you have, or any opinions you have on current events. 

However, sometimes this can come back to haunt you, for example saying rude comments about your future place of work and then when your future employee searches for your name, these tweets come up, they are usually accompanied by a reply saying, you will not have to subject yourself to X place of work, you are not hired. 


The use of hashtags became popular through Twitter (and now is used in a multitude of apps, particularly Instagram), as a way to sort out what information is seen by each viewer. By stalking a tag, you only see the tweets related to that, rather than having to sift through the approximately 500 million tweets posted per day. This streamlined search capacity makes Twitter a very convenient social channel.

How We Use It

One of us made themselves a Twitter account when they were a rabid fangirl at 14 years old. After six months of reading nonsensical tweets that they rarely contributed to, they gave up on Twitter. 

Despite our lack of interest in Twitter, one of our friend’s swears by it, and will use it constantly to get news updates or information about her celebraties of choice. Interestingly, she also uses it to get people’s opinions on how her public exams have gone. Between May and June this year, she used Twitter after every AS Level examination to stalk the tag of the exam. She could see the national perspective on the exam, and hoped that everyone else would say that they too found it impossible. 
From what we can tell, Twitter is not all that popular with teens, with only 33% of teens aged 13-17 using it. Compared to the 71% of teenaged Facebook users, Twitter is becoming outdated, just after its 10th birthday.

Instagram - created 2010

Instagram is definitely one of the most popular social channels utilised by teenagers. It has 14 million UK users, 500 million global users, and 80 million photos are shared per day. 52% of teens use Instagram, and unlike Facebook, it does not have an age requirement to become a member. You can refine your Newsfeed to only photos from people you want to see, which keeps the interest of teenagers.

Effects on Insecurities

It promotes showing a single snapshot of highlights in your life, and encourages editing the photo to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible. 

Whilst it may fill you with joy to have that perfectly edited selfie getting over 100 likes, it does somewhat promote a feeling of insecurity, particularly among teenage girls. When scrolling through your Instagram feed on the sofa in trackies, a t-shirt and gross hair, coming across a picture of your best friend with legs for miles, perfect hair, flawless skin and a witty caption, it does not do a lot for your self-esteem. 

Comparing a user’s everyday moments to the highlights of their friends or celebrities, enforces the societal conception of perfection and beauty, and can lead to an increase in the feeling of unhappiness amongst those who have insecurities (as we all do).

How We Use It

Whilst Instagram can promote this, we actually love the app. It is safe to say that it is one of our favourite channels of social media. Part of our love for Instagram stems from our love of pretty pictures and while we follow all our friends on Instagram, we also follow nature channels that highlight the beauty of the world and the places in the world that you will probably never travel to yourself. 

We also follow many tutorial pages and funny admins. A popular admin that is followed by most of our friends is ‘TheLadBible’. Based on its name, one would assume that it is aimed primarily at teenaged boys and young adults. While the content posted by ‘TheLadBible’ is definitely aimed at ‘Lads’, the satirical way that it laughs at society and the witty captions accompanying photos makes it applicable to most of the younger users on Instagram. 

Your Posts

Now, aside from your actual feed, the other aspect is the content that you yourself upload. Amongst teenagers it tends to be photos of ourselves looking our best, our family and friends, or occasionally the beautiful scenery or sunset that you encountered that day. 

One of our friends in particular says that, unless she is in exam season, she has to post every 3.5 days so that people don’t unfollow her, and will time her posts so that she can get the maximum number of likes. That is not to say that she is being vain, but who doesn’t love seeing other people’s appreciation for a picture that means something to you. 


The new update to Instagram that allows you to privately message other users makes Instagram much more of a Social Network than it was previously. However, it does unwittingly promote slightly scary encounters. One of us was messaged by a man on the other side of the world looking “for a friend”, to which we quickly shut the message and blocked the user. So whilst it is updating and becoming in line with other extremely popular social networking sites, it had felt particularly safe from ‘stranger danger’ until this new update. 

The update has also slightly weakened the privacy settings that were previously some of the best we had ever seen. Before, if your account was made private, then any user who did not follow you could not see any of your photos, your profile picture or who you followed. They could see your bio, but that tends not to be too revealing. With the new update, not only can you get a message from anybody, but they also can now zoom in on your profile picture to actually see what you look like. Some of the anonymity of Instagram has been lost which we think is a shame. 

That has not, in anyway, curbed the usage by teenagers. The easy control of who can see your photos makes it a place where more controversial photos would be posted as opposed to Facebook, because if you do not want people to see your posts, they can not. 

Google+ - created 2011

Quite frankly, the extent of our knowledge of Google ranges from the browser to the email system. Anything other than that, including Google+, is a mystery to us. It is used by 12.6 million UK users and 2.2 billion global users. Given our lack of knowledge about what it is as a social media channel, having looked it up (on Google), it states that it is “a social network that builds off your Google Account”. From what we can tell, it is a way of blogging about your interests without having to have any sort of knowledge of other users. It seems like a more polished version of Tumblr.


Our Opinion

Neither we, nor our friends use it, it does seem like a judgement free zone where people can rave on about their passions. That ability to speak candidly without repercussions is a trait that we think teenagers are seeking in Social Channels, and so perhaps Google+ will be the next big thing with teenagers.

Thank for reading Part 1 of this epic article. We'll be continuing next week where we'll look at Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine and more.

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What do you think of this amazing teen perspective on social media? Comment below please 😃