Ah, yes. TikTok: the mind-numbing, humorless, time-consuming new social media platform taking our generation by storm. The app’s monumental popularity is a bit odd to me, mostly due to the fact that it just doesn’t seem to have any value.
The video-sharing app was created in September 2016 by Beijing-based company ByteDance, and gained popularity in late 2018. It was the most downloaded app in Apple’s app store for the first quarter of 2019, and currently has about 750 million active users according to data from research site Sensor Tower.
Quick, attention-grabbing videos of viral challenges, lip-syncing and dancing to songs, and memes have made the app extremely popular among teenagers: according to the Global Web Index, 41% of those 750 million users are between the ages of 16 and 24.
Ask your average teenager, and they’ll probably say that TikTok is a great way to unwind, be entertained, and catch up with new challenges, songs, and teen culture.
So, What’s Wrong With It?
TikTok has found a way to top every other social media app in terms of time-wasting. Other platforms provide a basis for one (or possibly both) of two things: communication and news. Apps like Snapchat, despite having plenty of negative attributes, can provide an opportunity to talk to and connect with friends, and those like Instagram allow effortless accessibility to important news and happenings.
The big problem with TikTok is that it does neither of these things—there is no way to gain any valuable information or communicate effectively with anyone on the app. All you do is watch other people’s ridiculous videos and feed them likes. It’s nothing but a catalyst for the paralyzing and unconscious wasting of time.
Sure, it’s perfectly acceptable to unplug and unwind in the midst of all the stress that us students face throughout the school year. I understand that all generations have all had their own ways of relaxing. But TikTok has gone too far. It has literally no value: it’s not funny, it’s not entertaining, and it’s not beneficial. We need to find a slightly less cringe-worthy way of spending our leisure time.
The Bigger Picture
Social media is generally negative for the teenage brain and mental wellness, and TikTok is certainly not helping (for more on the negative effects of cell phones on the mind, click here). The app only continues the encouragement of using one’s phone for much more time per day than is deemed healthy.
I understand that it is difficult to stop using certain platforms right away, because it is an addiction whether we choose to accept that or not. I use Snapchat and Instagram all the time, and constant use of any type of social media is not necessarily healthy in the long run. All I am trying to argue is that certain platforms have at least some positive attributes like communication and news, but others, like TikTok, have little purpose.
We already know the deleterious effects that excessive social media use can have on our brains, so why add to them with more somnambulant scrolling? We can’t continue to accept TikTok as a norm, or else the future of a society that lacks social skills and healthy minds will become inevitable. Stop the madness. Delete TikTok.