Is TikTok Really Good For You?

Is TikTok Really Good For You?

Lauren Salisbury, Staff Writer

TikTok is one of the biggest social media platforms with almost 600 million daily users worldwide. Why you may ask? It’s designed to be very addicting and it’s very user-friendly. Let’s talk about the algorithm real quick.

Like many other social media platforms, TikTok pays attention to its user’s personal preferences and based on that then recommends content for them. This creates a dangerous, inescapable trap for many, making this app addictive. TikTok plays into the fact that a person’s attention span is very short and with videos that are between 15-60 seconds, the cycle is regenerated. TikTok then compiles all the go-to’s and puts what they like into a customized ‘For You’ page. All you have to do is swipe to the next video and eventually, you’ll have spent hours on the app. This may lead you to question the long-term effects of this endless cycle as clearly, this doesn’t seem beneficial in any way, shape, or form, and as it should. Here are some insights on the role TikTok plays in adolescents. 

Anne Marie Albano, Ph.D., director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders with  states that “There is youth, especially those with social anxiety or depression, who may have a tendency to spend more time online and reduce their real, face-to-face contact with other folks” and that “When an individual is not engaging in the world in a healthy way—interacting with others, managing themselves in challenging situations…speaking up in class, dealing with conflict with peers—this can exacerbate their feelings of alienation, hopelessness, isolation, anxiety, and depression.” In summary, social media like TikTok only exacerbate the loneliness and isolation that many users already have, and having it at such easy access is extremely detrimental to mental health. 

While TikTok seems to be nothing but isolating, Kojo Sarfo, MD, a mental health nurse practitioner and psychotherapist with claims that TikTok gives people a space “where they can belong” and that another user named Peter Hyphen uses the app to share his ADHD diagnosis. 

So is TikTok isolating or inviting? The most honest and correct answer is both. Social media does have a quadrillion and ten pros and cons and with that comes a ton of responsibility and accountability. Too much can harm your well-being and lead you into a downward spiral while depriving yourself of it can do just as much damage if not more. With anything in life, you need balance and boundaries and with this issue in my opinion, this is the best option that makes everyone happy.