Current24:59What the App Gas Can Tell You About Teenage Self-Esteem and Online Verification
A very popular app called Gas allows teens to anonymously compliment each other.
One tech expert worries that this payment model is “preying on” teen anxiety.
A technology journalist based in Vancouver, Work smarter with social media.
“It’s great because it’s like adolescent anxiety, one of the guaranteed permanent sources of energy in the world, but boy, it just seems incredibly exploitative,” she said. Told. The Currents Matt Galloway.
Gas is free to download, but offers in-app purchases for various subscriptions that unlock additional features. The app’s name comes from the slang phrase “gassing your friends up”, which means to boost your confidence with compliments and encouragement.
Recreated and amplified the dynamics of a high school cafeteria.And no one pays a higher price than children– Alexandra Samuels, Technology Journalist
Teens signing up must submit their location and select a local high school. The app then presents a series of questions. For example, who are the best DJs? Who do you secretly admire? Whose smile is the one that melts your heart?
The user has a list of names to choose from (all other teens in high school who have signed up for the app) and their choice is signaled by a flame emoji.
Users can pay to find out who voted for them and prevent their name from being shared. You can also get tips by watching ads or asking your friends to sign up by sending your referral link.
Quinn Mansworth, a 15-year-old 10th grader from Toronto, downloaded the app when it was released in Canada in late November.
“I think the main reason high school students are using this app is because they need validation for training with social media,” says Mansworth.
“Just scrolling through and getting verified, even if it’s fake and not real, it’s pretty tempting,” he said. Current.
Payment model feels ‘bad’ on gas: Samuel
The app was first released in select regions of the United States last summer. It topped the download charts as it became widely available in the fall. TechCrunch reports 7.4 million installs this week. Consumer spending since going online is about $7 million.
Samuel admitted that teens aren’t “particularly vulnerable” to wanting to know what people think of them or paying for that privilege. He points out that he pays a monthly fee to the oriented social network LinkedIn to make business connections and see who views his profile.
“For Gas, I think it’s the idea of preying on social anxiety in teenagers that makes me feel sick,” she said.
“Frankly, the most exorbitant part of Gas was calculating how much they could charge for it.”
Current I reached out to Nikita Bier, one of Gas’ developers, but did not receive a response. last year, he told Bloomberg He says he created the app to help teens “increase self-esteem and spread positivity.”
In the fall, apps became a hot topic The hoax that it is being used for human traffickinggiven the functionality of the app, it is impossible for experts to say. Discord announces acquisition of Gasbut does not disclose specific terms.
Samuel has reported on social media since its inception at the turn of the 20th century. She was optimistic about social media’s potential to become “a huge force for human connection, social change and growth.”
“Instead, we’ve recreated and amplified the dynamics of a high school cafeteria, and no one is still paying a higher price than high school kids,” she said.
Lead by example and talk to children
Mansworth said he started using the app to see if someone sent him a compliment and what the compliment was. However, he deleted the app after becoming “paranoid” about its content.
“I started thinking, ‘Are these bogus compliments? Are you kidding me? ” He said.
“The longer I did it, the more I doubted it and the more stressed I became.”
Samuel said the likes, hearts and little feedback buttons on social media don’t help everyone feel safe or make connections.
“When people are voting for each other all the time, it’s the enemy of authenticity, the enemy of trust, the enemy of connection,” she said.
But despite these issues, she doesn’t think parents should try to ban their children from using social media. She also doesn’t agree to the age limit of keeping kids offline until she’s 13.
“This means we don’t feed our children to deal with social media until they reach an age when they are least likely to listen to us,” Ten.
Instead, parents can try to have an open conversation about their social media use, how to “address some of that more insidious dynamics,” Samuel said.
You can also lead by example, like setting limits for being online, putting away your phone, and not “airbrushing your life on Instagram.”
“The more you talk to your child about your struggles, the more doors open for you to share what is difficult for your child,” she said.