‘What is…?’ Get the low-down on the latest social media trends.

14 Apr 2016 UK SIC

As a parent or carer, you might find your children are onto the next new social media site every week. New trends and sites are emerging all the time.

We’ve pulled together 5 of the most popular, newer networks that young people are using, and given you a breakdown of what they do and why young people like them.

What is..?


Snapchat is an app that let’s you share photos and videos with friends. The images only last for a few seconds, then they automatically delete. You can also create a Snapchat Story that is a collection of several photos and videos shown together, that will stay ‘live’ for 24 hours, and then delete. You can share your Story with friends, or make it public.

Why do young people like it?

You can add text, drawings, and emojis to the images you share. You can also use funny filters that can make you look like a cat, a cartoon, a policeman etc. You can also use the ‘Face Swap’ feature to swap features with another person in the photo. This has been extremely popular recently, with lots of these images being shared across other social networking sites.

For more information about Snapchat check out our Snapchat Checklist


Instagram is a photo and video sharing network. Instead of ‘friends’, you have ‘followers’. Your Instagram feed is made up of the photos and videos posted by the people you follow. You can also tag people in photos, and mention people in comments using the @ symbol and their username. You can also ‘check’in’ and share the location of where your photo/video was taken.

Why do young people like it?

You can add different filters, and make your photos look very cool and professional. There are certain trends on Instagram, such as #tbt (Throwback Thursday – post on older photo) and #wcw (Woman Crush Wednesday – girls/women post a photo of a woman they admire). You can link your Instagram to other networks, such as Facebook, so your posts appear on both accounts.

For more information about Instagram check out our Instagram Checklist


Periscope is Twitter’s new, live streaming app that allows users to live-broadcast from anywhere in the world. Users can also watch other people’s live stream if their feed is public. You can also choose to make the video available to certain users only.

 Why do young people like it?

You can see on a world map where people are live streaming from – this might be from somewhere exotic and exciting, like South America, or down the road in the same town as you. Viewers can also send ‘hearts’ by tapping the screen as a way to show you like the video. You can also send messages using the chat feature too.


Yo is a simple social networking app that lets users send a one word response to each other, reading “Yo” and speaking it aloud at the same time.

Why do young people like it?

It might sound silly to adults, but young people like the simplicity and fun factor. It lets people know you’re thinking of them in a quick way.


Musical.ly is a social networking sites that lets you share your own versions of music videos, by filming yourself and/or your friends miming along to the lyrics of a song. You can view other people’s videos, and remix them. You can opt to make your videos public, or available to selected users only.

Why do young people like it?

It’s a more interactive version of karaoke, and some users put a lot of effort into making their videos look professional or funny. It’s a fun thing to share with friends, and is particularly funny if the song you are miming along to is completely different to the music you normally like.

New sites pop up all the time, but the message we tell young people always stays the same: respect others online, think before you post, and only accept friends and followers from people you know and trust.

For more app reviews from both parents and kids, visit commonsensemedia.org for a balanced view. More guidance about social networking sites can also be found at: Supporting young people online leaflet from Childnet

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