Snapchat: The Addiction at Your Fingertips That’s Worth Quitting

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Maggie Rasch, Staff Reporter

Just about every high school student who has a phone probably has Snapchat to check in with their friends and communicate with photos that only last for a few seconds. Although users claim to hate the app’s features and new updates, teens are still constantly using the app. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that teens need to take a break from Snapchat.

Snapchat started out primarily as a communication app, where users could take pictures instead of text messaging. However, when the app started to get more popular, remodels started to come out. The upgrades improved the app immensely. Updates have included a memories folder, location tracker, a “My eyes only” folder, unlimited replays, and snaps that last for infinity seconds.

One of the most well known features on Snapchat is a streak, which is a number that tells users how many days they have snapped someone in a row. Many teens use streaks as a popularity poll. They are constantly worried about how many streaks they have, how long the streaks are, and if their streaks are going to end soon.

Safety can also be a big issue on the app. Teens can get so obsessed with Snapchat streaks that they have streaks with people they don’t know. Snapchat can be a scary place, especially when anyone can add anyone as a friend.

It is very common for teens to communicate with each other with pictures of black screens, even though the app is meant for picture taking. Therefore, talking to strangers isn’t uncommon. It is also possible for users to communicate by swiping over to a text message feature. As a result, they don’t have to take pictures of themselves to talk to each other.

Most teens also have their Snapchat username in their Instagram bio. This means that anyone on the internet, even if the account is private, can add those users on Snapchat. At least one person a day posts something on Instagram that usually goes along the lines of:  “Add me on snap!”

Snapchat is a huge competition, even though no one will admit it. Everyone wants to have the biggest snap score, which is a number that tells other people how many snaps a person has sent and received. Users also compete by the number of streaks they have, the amount of people that have viewed their story, or by who is in their best friend list. After a while, I became sick of the same story.

I recently took a break from snap by deleting it completely. I wanted a chance to see what would happen if I tried putting my phone down for a while, and the first step was getting rid of my most addictive app. Not only was I addicted to responding to anyone who snapped me, I was addicted to the environment it created.

Anytime I was with friends, I would snap them when they were right in front of me. I was a slave to my streaks. I would lose twenty to thirty percent of my phone’s battery life every morning on my way to school because I would be on the app. I would check my phone every two minutes to see if I had a snap and if I needed to respond. Sometimes I wouldn’t open snaps all day, so it looked as if I had a large amount of people wanting to talk to me. I would let my notifications add up to fifty snaps before finally responding to people. I was obsessed with what people would think of me, and I was living an unhealthy life.

With the app gone, I experienced many different roller coasters. I would struggle with traveling somewhere and not having the ability to show anyone what I was doing. I would think about all the photo opportunities around me and become sad. While on spring break, I wanted to discover all the interesting geofilters around me. Not to mention, I had absolutely no clue what everyone else was doing for spring break. I felt like I was left out and missing all the action.

After deleting Snapchat, I have become more aware of what people are doing around me. It seems I find myself in situations where I am the only person who isn’t on Snapchat. Everyone during lunch or after school is looking down on their phones. At the lunch table, my friends are possessed by their phones because they’re busy taking pictures of each other.

Snapchat causes damage to many relationships on top of that. It makes teens say irrational things, while teaching them to overreact to everything. One of the most common situations that ends up hurting someone’s feelings is leaving someone on read. People can get so hurt by this small action that clearly means nothing. For instance, just the other day my friend started loudly accusing a boy next to her because he left her on read when he put his phone down.

These actions are ridiculous. Teens are using the app to such an extent that eventually it is going to swallow them whole. It is taking over their emotions. They won’t know the difference between losing a five hundred day streak and losing a pet.

I’ll admit that Snapchat isn’t a completely bad thing. I have definitely missed it during my time without it, and the first couple days were very difficult. It’s how teens communicate and express themselves today. I miss taking funny videos of my friends while hanging out. I miss talking to all my friends with a tap on my screen. There have been some moments where I wanted to ask someone a question, but I didn’t have their number. Although the transition was hard, without a doubt, I needed a break.

I highly encourage teens to delete the app for a week, and see how you feel. We all need change every once in a while. I can’t guarantee you’ll enjoy it, but I can promise you that you will see things differently.

Photo by Luke Porter on Unsplash. Used with permission.