Snapchat has become a predominant force in how young individuals, such as home-schooled teenager Jordyn Gilbert, engage and exchange information. For these users, Snapchat is crucial in preserving friendships and maintaining communication. Snapchat streaks, in particular, have become an integral aspect of the platform’s appeal, fostering a sense of competition and camaraderie among peers. As a result, the importance of Snapchat in young people’s social lives cannot be understated.
Snapchat+ and its purpose
In July 2022, Snapchat launched a subscription-based service called Snapchat+ for $3.99 per month. This service aims to enhance the overall user experience and promote deeper connections among friends using the app. The application aims to positively impact users’ emotions during their daily interactions on the platform by providing minor improvements and features like the Friend Solar System.
The Friend Solar System feature uses a planetary metaphor to depict users’ connections with their Snapchat friends. The frequency of user interactions and their distance from the sun determine the position of their planets. As users engage more frequently with certain friends, their planets appear closer to the sun, indicating a stronger connection. Conversely, less frequent interactions push planets further from the sun, signifying a more distant or weaker relationship.
Emotional implications of the Friend Solar System
For users like Jordyn Gilbert, visualizing their connections can result in emotional distress when realizing that a previously strong bond, such as with a crush, has weakened. The metaphorical position of Neptune, the furthest planet from the sun, represents this. However, this visualization can also foster a greater appreciation for people who have become increasingly important in users’ lives, as those individuals appear closer to the sun and are, therefore, more significant.
Users of the Friend Solar System must be careful when interpreting these changes, as it is essential to strike a balance between self-awareness and the emotional impact of changing connections.
The influence of apps on emotional health
The example of Snapchat and the Friend Solar System highlights the potential impact of app features on users’ emotional health. This raises concerns about the role of apps in young people’s lives and the possible adverse effects on mental well-being. To ensure that apps do not inadvertently contribute to mental health issues, developers and stakeholders must thoroughly evaluate these implications and address any concerns.
A better understanding of the potential effects of app features on users can be reached by promoting open discussions and collaborative efforts between app creators, users, and mental health experts. This collaboration can lead to implementing safety measures that foster positive experiences and responsible usage, particularly among young users, ensuring that apps such as Snapchat continue to offer an enjoyable and beneficial platform for maintaining connections and nurturing relationships.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Sanket Mishra; Pexels
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