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Gen Z’s Biggest Nightmare: Their Parents on Snapchat

With older generations flocking to Snapchat, the messaging app might need to look for ways to stay relevant with their original userbase.

Don’t blink: before you know it, your favorite hip, of-the-moment app you’re using to message your friends is about to make its way into the wrong hands — your parents!


According to a recent CBS News article, Snapchat, the five-year-old photo and video-sharing app, is now starting to catch on with older generations. ComScore, the company that conducted the study, reported that Snapchat is “rapidly growing its user base among older Millennials and those 35 years and older.”

Naturally, the app is still disproportionately popular among young people and teens, with about 69 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds using the app. But even this is up from 24 percent from April 2013. However, in the same time frame, the app went from being used by a mere five percent of smartphone users age 25 to 34 and just two percent of users 35 and older, to 38 percent of older Millennials using the app and 14 percent of people 35 and up snapping away.

So why are older groups suddenly using this technology at higher rates? ComScore cites the introduction of new product features like “Stories,” as well as fun “Lenses,” which offer customizable options like filters, which have made the app more accessible and interactive for a wider user base.

This is not uncommon for new technology. There appears to be a “ripple-up effect” where older generations begin to adopt the technology and habits of younger generations. Think about what happened with Facebook. Sure, some younger people may still use Facebook, but as their parents — and even, in some cases, grandparents! — are making profiles and “liking” their statuses, the younger generations are moving farther away from it.

Generation Z, the generation after Millennials, much prefer Snapchat-like apps that “don’t leave a paper trail,” as we uncovered in our landmark study earlier this year. So while younger Millennials and Gen Z might have a hard time keeping their parents out of their snaps, it’ll be up to the app’s team to determine out how to embrace its new, older users without alienating their original, younger ones — especially since the next app is usually just around the corner!

What are your go-to apps? Join the conversation on Twitter with @WhatTheGen or @JasonDorsey. And don’t forget to add your #generation!

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