TikTok Users Must Weigh Pros, Cons

Fiona Caywood

Today, TikTok is one of the most popular and widely used apps among youth across the world and is arguably the most popular social media platform. TikTok began its rise to fame in 2016, and has continued to grow in popularity each day. TikTok can undoubtedly be very entertaining, but at what cost?  

The average user spends 95 minutes on the app each day, which may not seem like much, but for full time students, that is most, it not all or more, of their free time. TikTok has become highly addictive and is responsible for distracting students during school and outside of school. Its all fun and games until a students education is affected. The more time a student spends of TikTok, the less time they spend focusing on their schoolwork. 

TikTok also is the culprit of many mental health issues among teens. They spend hours a day scrolling on this app, watching videos of people who use filters and editing to enhance their appearance. Often, users compare themselves to these TikTok users, thus rendering themselves as not good enough and inflicting self-consciousness and self-hatred. The more users watch, the more they compare themselves to others, which is the most dangerous habit to develop as a youth.  

Another issue is the explicit content that TikTok contains. The American version of TikTok is not censured enough to be appropriate for most youth, and can expose innocent minds to content that is not age-appropriate. Scrolling on TikTok, you may see videos containing nudity, harassment, traumatic experiences, and lots of other graphic content. While most youth are naturally exposed to such things, TikTok shortens the process of understanding such content by exposing it to children at a very young age.  

While TikTok definitely has its share of downsides, it also has positive qualities. Any user is exposed to content created from around the world, which can be a good introduction into the cultural diversity of humankind. Youth can discover the different customs and cultures from other youth and users from around the world, which can be very beneficial. Some TikToks can introduce users to ways of life that they never knew existed and enrich their knowledge.  

While many TikToks cause users to feel self-conscious about themselves and compare themselves to others, there are many creators on TikTok who promote beneficial habits such as body positivity, love, kindness, acceptance, individuality and many more. Such creators aim to support their followers and encourage and aid them in trying to find happiness and contempt inside their own skin and their life.  

With all that being said, TikTok can be both a safe and dangerous place. With moderation and sensory, it can be enriching. Without moderation is can become addictive and take away from productiveness of everyday life. It can also expose a user to explicit content that may not be appropriate.  My advice is to use your intuition and be self-aware so that you don’t let this app control your life, but still allow it to be a source of entertainment.