For better or for worse, TikTok has swept the globe


Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons.

Marta Svirgun, Staff Writer

Walking through any high school or middle school during lunch, you’ll probably notice kids dancing in the halls, and then running back to their phones. 

Everywhere you go, you’ll probably see kids on TikTok. 

You may have heard of the app, TikTok. It’s a Chinese video sharing social network owned by ByteDance. According to Media Kix, TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times. Over 63 percent of users are between the ages of 10 to 29, and females outnumber males nearly 2:1 in terms of U.S. users. On the app, you can create any sort of content, ranging from lip syncing and comedy to dances and talent videos, which are anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds long. 

It’s popular, for good reason: TikTok is very entertaining. You can find any interests of yours on there. There’s attractive people who can dance and lip sync to sounds. You end up doing some of these dances yourself. Some of these dances are so repetitive that it’s hard not to learn them and do them over and over. 

TikToks are usually not long, so that adds to the appeal of the app. You’ll see a video, like it, and keep scrolling. It’s an amazing app for people with a short attention span.

However, because these videos are so short and require a short attention span, you can easily get distracted from other tasks. You forget about your priorities and focus on TikTok instead. Teens can spend up to 9 hours on TikTok. Too much screen time can lead to serious problems like not getting enough sleep, mood problems, spending less time with family and friends, and so on. My own screen time is way over nine hours. TikTok alone can take anywhere from an hour to four hours of my time. 

There’s a lot of political content on tiktok as well because of the recent election. It can be entertaining, but at the same time, it can be scary and sad. Often now, if you disagree with someone politically, others will attack you. This can be very damaging because those who possess different political beliefs than you will go on to attack your appearance as well as your mindset. This goes both ways, and a good majority of us aren’t even able to vote yet. 

Oftentimes, political pages will be satire. These types of accounts can be very entertaining, or not so much to others. They can post material that some people find offensive or completely disagree with. This can get a lot of people worked up. You either have to have thick skin if you end up talking about these sorts of things, or just be able to keep scrolling and not caring. 

Always be careful though. You can learn a lot from TikTok, but at the same time, you can also be misinformed about certain things. Be able to think logically and always doubt everything you hear. 

 Lots of teens also spend a lot of time on TikTok at night when they’re bored and have nothing better to do. From straining your eyes in the dark, watching a small screen for hours on end, you could develop eyesight problems.

A perk of TikTok is that you can meet a lot of new people, especially if you are a creator yourself. People use this to their advantage by making new friendships, and these people will help uplift your platform by commenting on your TikToks and sharing them. 

Always be mindful of who you talk to on the app, especially if you’re a minor. Predators are everywhere, and more commonly child grooming occurs. 

Another perk to TikTok is that you can get famous on the app. If you have a talent of some sort, you can share it and others will see which can help boost your career. An example would be the song “Mad at Disney,” or “Backyard Boy”. Around August, “Mad at Disney” was earning around 20,000 streams a day on Spotify. “Backyard Boy” has 13 million views on Youtube, and has over 20 million streams since the top of the summer. 

Regarding social media, reported, “Kids who are bullied are more likely than those who aren’t to experience depression and anxiety, health complaints, and decreased academic achievement.”

Every social media platform has the ability to damage your health, both physically and mentally. A lot has to do with self image. If you struggle with body dysmorphia, or just in general are insecure about yourself, TikTok could potentially make it worse. Keep in mind, cyberbullying does still exist. Mean comments and insults affect everyone differently. While some simply don’t care what others have to say, to others it might mean the world, and they’ll take it to heart. 

Although there are benefits to TikTok, the negatives are overwhelming, and teens should use caution when using the app.