Wondering what your teens and tweens are up to online? Gaming, TikTok, Twitter and more…
We are all living online these days and for those of us whose kids are digital natives, this is not new to them. Couple that with access to their own gadgets almost 24/7, it makes us wonder what else do they do online aside from Google Meet, Google Classroom, Canvas and Zoom?
Upon strict observation (*wink*) and a few questions here and there, I got the lowdown about apps, games and sites that kids engage in these days.
Twitter over Facebook
Kids say that Facebook is for mainstream stuff — it’s for posting things they don’t mind their titos, titas and teachers knowing about. Instagram, on the other hand, is their curated digital album of self portraits — notice how these accounts don’t get updated often. 90% of kids have more than one Instagram account. The main account is the one we follow, then there are dump accounts and Finstas which are restricted to their friends. We are not privy to this, folks, sorry. So where are they really at? Twitter!
Twitter is freedom of speech at its best for these Gen Z kids. Tweets every hour on the hour about thoughts, feelings, what they are having for lunch and what they’re watching. This is also where they get to be up close and personal with whoever they fancy. AND — we probably don’t follow or even know our kids’ Twitter handles. Tweet, tweet.
There’s more than one kind of Tiktok?
Lo and behold Tiktok. And apparently, Tiktok is not just Tiktok. There are different communities depending on the type of content. So listen up! Straight Tiktok is how the app became popular in the first place. It’s where you find all the dancing and pop stuff that we normally see online. Alt Tiktok shows the raw side of Gen Z. They promote becoming famous by being themselves and content is usually unconventional and not focused on glam. There’s also Dark Tiktok, Tiktok Challenges, Weeb Tiktok, Food Tiktok and so much more! It’s time to get our Tiktok learn on.
They love Pinterest!
Surprisingly, a lot of Gen Z kids spend time creating boards and pinning away on Pinterest. It’s no longer just for moms and homemakers looking for home design or kiddie party inspiration. Pinterest has become a hub for fashion and style inspos, easy cooking and baking hacks and tips on studying, staying organized, even decorating a bedroom.
Bye bye Snapchat
So how do kids communicate with each other these days? Say hello to Discord. That’s right, Snapchat and its streaks are now a thing of the past — who knew?
Discord is an instant messaging service and it’s designed to accommodate communities. In Discord, they are called “channels.” It is widely used for gaming among teens. They also use it for is for chatting with classmates — so this is probably what they are doing in another window or another device during an online class.
What makes Discord different from other instant messaging apps? Aside from the usual SMS and audio/video chat capability, there’s an in-app bot that can play music that the entire channel can listen to without having to fire up Spotify on another window.
But Messenger is still OK
Messenger is still somewhat acceptable to them especially when it comes to comms with us parents, with a class group or with teachers. Viber, WhatsApp and Telegram are too “boomer” for their taste.
So I’m sure a lot of us will agree that because our kids are directly affected by the longest lockdown in the world due to the pandemic, anything they can do online for socialization is welcome — including gaming. My 3 sons have always been into gaming, but for my 3 girls, it’s unheard of – well until now.
The biggest online games to come out of quarantine are:
Valorant, a tactical shooting game that can accommodate 12 players total, with two teams battling for victory. Fall Guys is a game consisting of 60 players fighting for a crown by completing separate obstacle games, and only one player can win. You can play with your friends and/or with random players.
Among Us is the most popular online game there is today. It came out in 2018, but blew up during quarantine. Here in our household, all my kids play this game with their respective friends on their respective laptops. It’s pretty comparable to Werewolf and Mafia board games in terms of concept, and consists of 10 players maximum in each server. Among Us is best served with a side of Discord for live convos.
Warning: This game can also be addicting for parents!
And because digital natives have to get the content they want whenever they want it, there’s still good ol’ YouTube for hours of videos, and trusty Netflix for movies and TV shows.
Which brings me to another huge hit borne out of quarantine — Japanese Anime! If your kids are obsessed with this, you will find them getting their fix by streaming shows on Crunchyroll and GoGo Anime.
Spotify for music
Music anyone? Spotify is another big one that keeps our kids entertained and connected with each other “musically.” Aside from listening to their own playlists, they can also listen to their friends’ selections, and share theirs. This beats making mix tapes and burning CDs for friends.
Add to cart!
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have kids who like “adding to cart.” And I’m certain that I’m not alone. So how to get rid of the shopping itch when you can’t go out? Hello Lazada and Shopee — funded by their own allowance, of course.
So there you have it! I hope this somehow gives you guys ideas on what kids are busy with online. Personally I have chosen my battles wisely and decided that screen time is a free for all this school year. For as long as I know what they’re doing, consequences are laid out and expectations are managed, then it’s all good.
The kids are alright!