TikTok and its influence


Source: https://foothilldragonpress.org/271660/arts-and-entertainment/the-influence-of-social-media-tiktok/

“I want to be more like her;” “Why don’t I try doing that, it seems pretty cool;” “I don’t look as good as the girl in the video.” These are only a few of the thoughts that many teenagers think about when they watch TikTok. 

According to the CNBC, “As children and teens already grapple with issues of anxiety, social pressure, and depression, we cannot allow social media to further harm their physical health and mental well-being,” 

Many parents are now thinking, “How do we make sure my child is getting a good education when navigating online?” Parents and even teachers are worried about what kids are seeing online because it can affect their emotional state and their level of confidence in themselves. 

The app has new features for teenagers so it can protect their privacy and safety. According to the TikTok’s privacy policy, “The TikTok experience for Younger Users is designed especially for users under 13 residing in the United States. The experience allows these users to engage with TikTok’s fun video features while limiting the information collected from them. Young users can view videos from other creators and explore their creativity by capturing their own videos with music and special effects.”

But these are only the perspective of the adults that are seeing many children being influenced by the different things they see everyday on TiTtok. But how do real teens feel? James Corradi, a freshman at the iSchool, said, “There are definitely lots of dangerous challenges on TikTok. And these challenges can really put lots of kids that are my age in danger. Apart from this, there are many kids that get depressed or stuff like that. Once, my friend saw a sad TikTok and he was like ‘Damn that one hit hard’. There are a lot of depressing and sad things on TikTok but not many people tend to show their emotions if they are sad about it.”

There are students who even kill themselves because of the things they feel, and for some reason, they post it on TikTok knowing that many people will see it. For instance, on February 21, 2019, a 19 year old killed himself live on TikTok. According to TALENTRECAP, they said, “A 19-year-old from Southern Brazil told his TikTok followers that he was going to be planning a special performance the next day. TikTok has a livestream feature that allowed him to broadcast his suicide live. The live stream continued going for an hour and a half. It was just live footage of his lifeless body which is absolutely devastating.” 

Although there are no quotes from the viewers, we can imagine the terrifying looks of people when they kept seeing the lifeless body since the live went on for an hour and a half. Meaning, new people and the same viewers must have kept looking till the live completely ended. And some of these viewers might have also been children. Images and videos like these are what may cause kids and adults to begin to think about suside, so it is a very bad influence.

However, one of the iSchool students has given a somewhat different opinion towards TikTok and its influence:  “I’ve been using it since June 2021 for over a year and post every so often but not frequently, but usually videos relating to my favorite shows, musicians, movies, and school related stuff. I definitely talked in a different way and my screen time was way lower (at least before school). I’ve felt a little disrespected like I’ve come across some racist and offensive videos but I don’t think it’s a way of harming the community… it really depends on how you use it though. With my tiktok ¨for you page¨ I hardly see stuff I find offense and negative post but other people might see completely different and way worse stuff but overall I think it can be a good app depending on what you do on there and how you use it.¨

Sophomore Emmanuel Felix said, “Yes, I have seen lots of videos that I feel that are wrong like for example I’ve seen people paint on the bible and coming from my religion that believes in God I feel offended. And also a lot of racism.” When asked ´Do you think its a problem of the use of people or a problem with the app not doing enough?´,  Emmanuel responded, “ I think it is the use of people cause if it were TikTok harming the community then the video would have to come from tiktok but in reality it’s the people. When you read the guidelines you agree to the way TikTok wants you to use the app so when you take advantage of the rules and break the rule it’s all on you. Actions aren’t being controlled from the app is the people who use it.”

Compared to what we have read over the internet, we can see that there are some kids that actually enjoy watching TikTok. 

My opinion overall is that I don’t think TikTok is bad at all to be honest. I don’t think TikTok is the problem at all. I think the people who use it are the real problem. People are just posting random things that sometimes may affect the feelings of other people. At that point, TikTok has already done enough to stop these type of things and we really can’t be blaming them. TikTok influences us all in different ways. For me, sometimes it reminds me of an important date or person or may even inspire me to create something new. When I’m in a bad mood, it really cheers me up and makes me forget about what i’m going through and I think that’s something really important we really need sometimes. There’s people who drink or smoke to stop feeling emotional pain but laughter is also a way to freeze a bad feeling. TikTok really isn’t much of a problem but the real problem is how we use it. 

What we both really think is important though, the use of TikTok is being abused. It was never really the fault of the app but it was us, the users. We, Catherine and Analize both use TikTok. And we enjoy it, of course there’s mean things out there but there’s also good ones too. What people can do is stop posting content that they know could effect the mental health of children and other adults.