The Downsides of TikTok

TikTok’s app logo that is presented while first opening the app.

Courtesy of TikTok

TikTok’s app logo that is presented while first opening the app.

Tatum Steward, Photo Journalist

In 2014, the social media platform known as Musical.ly rose to fame. Commonly used for lip-syncing videos and short skits, Musical.ly was popular amongst kids anywhere from eight years old to their early twenties. While the app was similar to another video creation platform called Vine, it did not last long. In 2016, Musical.ly was sold by its company and thus TikTok was formed. TikTok is arguably one of, if not the most, popular social media apps amongst people today. The app allows virtually anyone access to posting a short video anywhere from three seconds to three minutes capturing anything they choose. Whether it’s sports highlights, funny skits, storytimes, or a “get ready with me,” TikTok provides people of many interests a space to release their creativity. The freedom that this app provides is seemingly harmless, but just like any type of social media, it has its major downsides. 

To elaborate, TikTok may provide some people with incorrect information. As it is a free and public platform, just about anyone has access to upload their own information. While this may be beneficial, it can be hard to differentiate between what is the truth and what is not. People may spread strong opinions, such as those that include politics, and if not curated correctly, these videos may fall onto the “For You Page” of someone who does not understand the matter, such as a child. Free range causes people to have the mindset that they can post whatever they choose, and quite frankly, that is exactly what TikTok allows, causing the opportunity for misinformation. 

Furthermore, the short videos provide viewers with the option to “Scrub,” meaning they can skip ahead to different parts of the video. Therefore, while these clips are already short as they come, people do not have to wait a full three minutes before seeing what they please in the video. This seems beneficial, but many people are rapidly losing their attention span.

TikTok can be very addicting: it even shortened my attention span. I also feel like it could brainwash people through misinformation.”

— Ashaan Sawhney

 

Lastly, access to any and all information at our fingertips can be worrisome considering there are many underage people using TikTok. The app has a simple sign-up, making it easy for kids under the age of 13 to create an account. Users can post anything, and TikTok does not always immediately regulate its posts; therefore, it may be dangerous for underage users to be on the app.

Generally, social media apps have their natural dangers, but TikTok should especially be used with caution. The misinformation, effect on attention spans, and appropriateness all contribute to the extra care that should be used while on TikTok. Students at YLHS should regulate their TikTok, be cautious with what they post, and be comfortable reporting anything that may be dangerous to themselves and others. People should still enjoy the app and have fun, but an extra layer of caution never hurts.