TikTok: A Harmless App Until…

TikTok: A Harmless App Until...

Samantha Frank

When I was in third grade, COVID-19 first hit. I was begging my parents to let me have TikTok because “Everyone else has it! What harm can it do?” Little did I know Tiktok has affected me so horribly. I wish I never downloaded it. At first, it seemed like a fun app I could go on in my free time, but after getting used to Tiktok, instead of a fun app it ended up hurting my self-esteem and increasing my anxiety. TikTok is one of the most popular and successful apps ever. It was first called Musica.ly in 2014 until 2016 when it was re-branded to TikTok. It became popular in 2019 when COVID-19 hit. Ever since then, TikTok has been the most visited domain and surpassed Google. 

TikTok is an app that has quick videos under three minutes where you can keep scrolling and scrolling. Your feed will never run out. The reason it has gotten so popular wasn’t just luck. The creators use a method called the For You Algorithm. The entirety of TikTok is just watching and making videos. As you keep watching and skipping the videos that aren’t entertaining for you, the app learns which videos you are interested in, and keeps adding videos like that to your For You Page. or “FYP” Once it knows your interests, it knows what videos to keep adding to your feed until you are addicted. The cycle keeps repeating, your interests can change but Tiktok will eventually figure you out. Some content has inappropriate things like encouraging self-harm, eating disorders, and suicide. There was research done by Henry Ford Health that had girls who were perfectly healthy watch videos of girls with Tourette Syndrome and ended up developing some tics. Tikok can also lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Many people’s attention spans including mine have been hard to keep because of how easy TikTok is. If you’re not interested, all you have to do is swipe! This generation has to learn how to listen and do things, even if it is not the most interesting to them. If you spend hours and hours watching short one-minute videos, it will be harder to read a novel because your brain isn’t used to something that long. There is research was done that shows Tiktok gradually shrinks your brain and you get dumber and dumber by innocently watching these videos.

There are some famous “TikTok Influencers” That are so popular, people are copying them because they are “In trend” and buying things because “The TikTok Influencer has it” There are beauty influencers, such as Alix Earle, who makes videos of her lifestyle, outfits, vlogs, and getting ready for the day or bed, called “GRWMS” That stands for get ready with me in TikTok Slang. Alix Earle has influenced so many people that people have been spending hundreds of dollars on beauty products, just because influencers have them. For example, the Drunk Elephant DeBronzi Drops and the Rare Beauty Blush by Selena Gomez are such popular items just because these influencers have them and say good things about them when the brand could possibly just be paying for them. Back during the Pandemic, Charli D’amelio and Addison Rae were the influencers. But instead of lifestyle videos, they were simply lip-syncing and dancing to songs. Even though these influencers are different, they all share something in common: they are almost brainwashing people from being their true selves, by saying exactly how people should act inside and out. TikTok preys on the young, insecure, and naive.

Some videos are “Tiktok Challenges” where people have the desire to be “Tiktok Famous” and start unsafe and dumb challenges. One challenge is The Black Out Challenge, where people purposefully hold their breath and try to choke themselves. This has led to several deaths and many more injuries. Another challenge is called The Devious Lick, encouraging kids to damage property, specifically school bathrooms. People have been doing all of this, just for some likes and followers on their accounts. 

TikTok has become so popular that there have been other apps with this short video idea such as Youtube Shorts and Netflix’s Fast Laughs. They have uncovered Tiktok’s algorithm and have been applying it to their apps hoping for popularity and addiction from their users.TikTok is not just an app anymore, it has gone too far and we need to save this generation from being completely brainwashed.  I deleted TikTok last month hoping to improve my mental health, and you should too.


TikTok is a New Kind of Superweapon – by Gurwinder