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Wondering what messaging apps teens are using? Here's what you should look out for

If you’re struggling to keep up with the different messaging apps out there, you’ve come to the right place.

Image: SnapChat/YouTube

INSTANT MESSAGING IS one of the fastest growing smartphone services out there, and it’s probably no surprise that it’s teenagers that use it the most.

While it’s easy to assume that these services are being used for nefarious purposes, the reality isn’t as bad as you would think and most are just a step up from traditional text messaging. A little knowledge goes a long way so here are the main apps you should keep in mind.

WhatsApp
For:
iOS, Android, Windows Phone

One of the most popular messaging apps out there, WhatsApp performs similarly to SMS, but uses WiFi or 3G/4G to send messages. Users can send text, audio and visual messages to individuals or groups.

Whatsapp Source: WhatsApp/Google Play

Viber
For: 
iOS, Android, Windows Phone

Similar to WhatsApp, the major difference Viber has is it specialises in voice calls. Again, it uses WiFi or 3G/4G to perform the task.

Source: viberapp/YouTube

LINE
For: 
iOS, Android, Windows Phone

Popular in Asia and making a push in Europe, LINE big focus is on stickers which are both available for free and for a small fee. While it’s unlikely that kids will be spending much on stickers, the service is growing in popularity.

lineapp-608x500 Source: Line/Windows Phone

KIK
For: 
iOS, Android, Windows Phone

Similar to LINE, KIK separates itself from other apps by not using your mobile number to sign up. Like online chat rooms, you choose your own username for signing in and using the app.

KIK Source: KIK/Google Play

Snapchat
For: 
iOS, Android

Snapchat allows you to take photos or record 10-second videos to individuals or groups, which then shortly disappear after being viewed. While this approach has led to claims it’s used for sexting, the reality isn’t as dramatic or as worrisome.

When you take a photo, you can add text to it and draw on it as well to further customise it. Its approach and the level of creativity from certain users, it has become one of the more popular messaging apps out there.

Source: Snapchat/YouTube

MeowChat
For: iOS, Android

A messaging app that has exploded in popularity recently, MeowChat is a weird combination of a number of different apps and services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Tinder, and ChatRoulette.

While you can chat with friends, it has a random chat function which connects you with other users from around the world and chat one-on-one or in groups, the latter can become very chaotic and strange when you’ve numerous strangers chatting to each other.

The other is picture profiles, which can be found in the explore feature which shows you who’s online in a (very) general area, and a ranking system which rewards inviting (read: spamming) your friends with invite requests and getting pictures ‘favourited.’ The fact that it’s growing rapidly means that it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 21.26.33 Source: MeowChat/Google Play

Whisper/Secret
For:
(Whisper) iOS, Android, (Secret) iOS, Android

While calling Whisper or Secret a messaging app might be a stretch, they follow the same principles and should be kept in mind.

The key feature is they allow users to share information anonymously, with the only detail revealed is the city or town the message came from. In the case of Secret, you’re notified when a friend posts a secret, but you’re not told who it is.

Secret app Source: Secret

Yo
For:
iOS, Android,

A messaging that only lets you send messages containing the word Yo. That’s it, nothing more. Don’t worry if you’re confused by it, you’re far from alone in feeling that way, but if you want a laugh, it’s worth reading the reviews on the App Store.

Yo Source: Yo/App Store

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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