A group of teenagers have created an app that offers an antidote to Britain’s “share everything” social media culture.
Memory Star is an app which lets users save happy memories in a “virtual memory jar”, which they can revisit at any time to give themselves a boost when they are feeling down. Memories – which can be uploaded photos or messages and appear as constellations on the screen – are not for sharing with social media “friends” on Facebook or Instagram, but are purely personal reminders of happy times.
The app was created by a group of five 15-year-olds from St Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill, Sussex – Sacha Botting, Dominique Froud, Jack Gumm, Gemma Kelly and Zuzia O’Donoghue. They drew on their own experiences of the pressures of school, friendships, home life and social media to come up with the idea.
O’Donoghue said: “There’s so much pressure to present a very happy image on social media. There’s something very competitive about it. Who can get the most likes? Who has the nicest life? You have this sort of perfect persona that you’re putting forward of yourself, but you don’t always feel like that.
“With Memory Star, you just look over all your memories without worrying or being self-conscious about whether people are going to think you look great or not. This is just to make you happy. You keep it for yourself and no one else ever has to see it.”
Botting, who kept a glass jar full of scraps of paper in her kitchen, which she used to cheer herself up when things were getting too much, inspired the app. “When you are not feeling great, it’s easy to forget the compliments you have received and happy memories,” she said. “Memory Star reminds you of them and gives you a confidence boost. It has definitely helped me.”
The ACP, whose members regularly hear from teenagers who feel they have no space of their own and no safe place for their real thoughts and memories, welcomes this app. However, it's important to highlight that key memories aren't always happy and that some memories help us learn and grow. Part of the pressure of social networking is needing to be seen as happy and always having the best time. This app could also be a good way of learning to be yourself with a mixture of experiences good and bad.