Rising boredom during lockdown contributed to a surge in time spent on the video-sharing app TikTok. However, with the app potentially compromising consumer privacy and promoting problematic behaviours, is it time for TikTok to be stopped?
Like the majority of teens across the globe, I myself have been lost in the TikTok loophole daily during lockdown. From dances to cooking to tarot readings, the clever algorithm ensures that there is something to entertain everybody, no matter who you are.
With the emerging notion that TikTok is shaping a Gen-Z generation incapable of processing videos longer than sixty seconds, the benefits and risks of the app need to be assessed.
There is no doubt that TikTok has created a thriving community, connecting people from around the world with the power of social media.
With India banning the app and the U.S. possibly being the next to do so, disturbing information about the app has been released
Challenges such as the #norush trend and the viral ‘Savage’ dance promoted by the likes of Addison Rae and Charlie D’Amelio have generated millions of views, bringing entertainment to many during lockdown. This relatively harmless side of TikTok is what the app is best known for.
Yet a deep dive into the algorithm reveals deeper issues, one being security. As seen in headlines worldwide, what started as a harmless app has led to political debate. With India banning the app and the U.S. possibly being the next to do so, disturbing information about the app has been released.
Reports claim that TikTok collects a range of personal information about the user, including their name, browsing history and payment details, clearly making the app problematic.
It is clear that some videos promote unattainable lifestyles and unhealthy diets, triggering for those suffering with eating disorders
Liking and sharing videos on the app leads to the user’s ‘for you page’ becoming more and more individualised. Whilst this may be comforting for some, others who use the app as an attempt to escape from their real-life issues could be negatively affected.
Many TikToks surrounding mental health issues are created, and it is clear that some videos promote unattainable lifestyles and unhealthy diets, triggering for those suffering with eating disorders.
Additionally, the app plays upon the increasing popularity of manifestation and astrology. With tarot card readings arguably giving people false hope and sometimes advocating communications with toxic people, the app can be overwhelming from time to time.
TikTok is a form of expression in the digital age, with the relatable content and hilarious videos providing many with comfort and sanity during the never-ending quarantine
There is definitely a debate to be had on the true effects of TikTok on the mental health of millions of young people; with such content being shared, the app may be best used in moderation.
Having said this, TikTok is a form of expression in the digital age, with the relatable content and hilarious videos providing many with comfort and sanity during the never-ending quarantine.
More importantly, it is a platform for people to support one another and show solidarity, as creators build a community of viewers following them on their amazing journeys.
Just one example of this is @florence.simpsonn, who has undoubtedly helped young girls on the app by promoting self-love and body positivity. Whilst the algorithm may lead to some toxicity being spread on the app, the heart of the app has good intentions and has been a well-needed escape for many.
In terms of content, thorough checking should be carried out to avoid the spreading of problematic videos
All of this considered, TikTok is an app bred with good intentions, but it’s popularity has contributed to some of it’s flaws. Major changes need to be made to protect consumer privacy. In terms of content, thorough checking should be carried out to avoid the spreading of problematic videos.
Whilst the laughs and relatable moments can bring immense comfort in such a time, TikTok should not be ‘on the clock’ and should be used cautiously in moderation.
Featured image courtesy of Kon Karampelas on Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.
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