The impact of Tik Tok

Amir Maske, Staff Writer

According to a recent Pew study of 13 to 17 years old, 67% of US teenagers ages 13 to 17 use Tiktok and 16% of all teens say they use TikTok consistently.

 “I think it’s popular because it’s become such a big app,” senior Kane Pashalieff said. “ It’s just known that everyone should have it to fit in or you fit in to have it.”

Every Time a teen uses TikTok, their attention span decreases. In fact, teens who use the app for over 90 minutes a day can narrow their attention spans over time according to a 2021 article by The Science Times. 

“Because people are getting [shorter] attention spans,” freshman Tyler Youngblood said, “[they] don’t pay attention to videos that often, so it’s better to have low like one to 30 second videos that are entertaining.”

TikTok promotes trends that could affect teenagers’ mental health, including the way they view their bodies and their susceptibility to depression. Critics argue that trends that highlight eating disorders and restrictive eating habits can negatively affect teens’ mental health, and many of the trends create an unrealistic beauty standard on what it means to be attractive. 

 “ The Bella Hadid trend,” freshman Leonna Crawford said, “when it [highlights] her skinniness. That will make teens think like I have to be her size to feel beautiful.”

Even though TikTok promotes trends that may not be good for the mental health of teens, TikTok also serves as a safe space for teens to freely express themselves.    

“[Positive trends] that let [people] express themselves,” Crawford said, “[are] when [TikTokers] dress up, like [the] get ready with me, get undone with me [trend].”

 Negative trends, such as devious licks affect teenagers’ everyday lives in school. This trend specifically was set into motion in September of 2021 and continued to happen throughout 2022. Teens in American middle and high schools were posting themselves stealing, vandalizing, or showing items that they have stolen from school. 

High school students agree that devious licks affect teenagers in a negative way “because if you do a devious lick,” Crawford said, “ you can get suspended [from school for] stealing stuff or expelled.”

 TikTok shares a fair amount of videos that promote dangerous and unhealthy trends and also videos that help keep people aware of situations that are happening around them. TikTok also informs its viewers about the well-being of others, lets people express themselves, and introduces their viewers to things that they have never seen or heard about before, showing the positive impact of TikTok rather than solely highlighting the negative ones. 

“[A positive aspect of TikTok involves] the [trends] where they go around and give out money to poor homeless people,” freshman Tyler Youngblood said, “[they’re] giving away stuff [to] people that don’t have much.”