The addictive effects of TikTok in AHS students

The addictive effects of TikTok in AHS students

TikTok, otherwise known in China as Douyin, has become one of the most popular social networking sites among teens. The app is used to make short videos up to one minute long about any and everything. Genres of TikTok include comedy, dance, art, beauty, sports and much more. 

The app has single handedly brought a lifetime of fame to TikTok stars such as Charli and Dixie D’amelio, Addison Rae, Noah Beck and many others.

TikTok has 689 million monthly active users worldwide. The app was able to add 738 million new users in 2019 which increased its existing users by 49% in one year alone. Other social media platforms have been trying to mimic the format of TikTok in hopes of gaining a greater audience.

 Instagram released Reels which 30 second long videos where you can scroll through, similarly to the for you page on TikTok. Snapchat included a spotlight tab to promote short viral videos, also much like TikTok.

Although the app is a lot of fun to be on, TikTok can easily be just as addictive as drugs and other substances.

 “I use tik tok more often compared to other social media sites probably because of their for you page feature. Unlike with instagram where your feed is made up of the people you follow , there is always new content on your for you page that is catered to your interests” senior Bety Kahsay said.

TikTok’s mission aims to “capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone. TikTok enables everyone to be a creator, and encourages users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos.” Although the intentions are good, their execution is contradictory to their statement. 

If they claim that their mission is to capture and present creativity then why are users immediately bombarded with an infinite amount of recommended videos, it seems that they are more concerned with the users captivation rather than creativity.

TikTok could be addictive if these videos are providing enough stimulus for you to show addiction symptoms and a neurological reaction similar to addiction. 

 “The videos on TikTok are pretty short and diverse which makes it more interesting and addictive to watch. My for you page is filled with funny and relatable content, so it’s hard to stop scrolling after a few minutes.” senior Kidist Bekele said.  

Since the videos are so short and fascinating it leaves you wanting more of that sense of pleasure, also known as a dopamine rush. When you’re pleased with what you’re watching, your brain sends a chemical messenger called dopamine along a reward pathway, which makes you feel good.

“In psychological terms it’s called random reinforcement,” said Dr.Julie Albrite, the author of Left To Their Own Devices. “These platforms are designed […] exactly like a slot machine,” Albrite said. “We don’t often talk about how our devices and these platforms and these apps do have these same addictive qualities baked into them.”

“I use tik tok probably every time I open up my phone, I’m usually on tik tok for about 4 hours a day, once I open up the app it’s hard to stop scrolling and get off,” sophomore Sophia Turay said.  I think I use it so often because it’s super funny but also relatable,” Turay said.

It’s also quite difficult to steer clear from tik tok videos even when you’re not on the app, people often share tik toks to their snapchat/instagram stories and it’s not rare to see a tik tok video on your Instagram’s Explore page. 

“I always see TikToks on other social media sites like whenever I open Snapchat, someone’s posted a TikTok on their private story or even on my explore page when I’m looking through Reels. It’s kind of funny how I can never seem to get away from TikTok,” sophomore Ruftana Beyene said.

There are ways to help stop the forming of an addiction to TikTok. You can turn off your post notifications, and even limit your screen time on tik tok through your settings on your phone. One of the best ways is to preoccupy yourself and don’t let yourself get bored since most users go on TikTok when they have nothing else to do.

 It’s never good to have too much screen time and if TikTok is the majority of yours it may be time to take a break. Addiction is a serious issue so if you or someone you know may be showing signs of addiction tell a trusted adult.