Is TikTok becoming a toxic app for teens?


Molly Anderson, Staff writer

   On August 2, 2018, “”, a social media outlet where people could create videos of themselves lip-syncing to different songs while making various hand movements, merged into what is now known as “TikTok”, an app where users can create short videos to a wide variety of  “sounds”. 

   The app has become extremely popular in 2019, reaching over 500 million users by the end of this year. With TikTok gaining so much popularity and usage recently, some may see this as a negative thing for teens who spend a lot of time on the app.

   Like most social media apps, TikTok is showing to be heavily used by teenagers, but is it becoming too heavily used? Alyssa Sutterfield, ‘21, uses TikTok quite frequently, and shared her total daily usage.

   “I spend more time on TikTok than I do on Snapchat. I think I spend about three hours and forty-five minutes each day,” said Sutterfield.

   Whether or not this is an unhealthy habit is determined by what the app is made up of. Many of the videos that are created on the app are humorous, but some cause viewers to quickly compare themselves to the creators.

   “I think a lot of people want to try to be like that person, like Charli D’Amelio for example (a popular TikTok user). I think so many girls want to base themselves around her. I just think it makes you want to change your image into something that you’re not,” explained Sutterfield.

   The other negative aspect is how much of a distraction it is from responsibilities of teens, such as homework.

   “I find myself spending a lot of time on Tiktok instead of doing my homework,” said Olivia Sfair, ‘22.

   Not only are students distracted at home, but also in the classroom.

   “Mr. Savalle tells me all the time to get off TikTok, but I’m trying to get better, it’s getting there,” stated Sutterfield.

   Teachers are starting to notice the power that these kinds of apps have on their students.

   “Administrators want us focusing on the standardized tests and grades, but our students are so worried about if anybody liked their photo, if someone left a mean comment,” explained Amy Goldberg, a math teacher from New Jersey in an interview for Foxbusiness News.

   Despite the negative effects of spending too much time on the app, there are some positive aspects to it. Some could view it as a way for teens to take a break from long days at school and take some time to enjoy themselves. As for the video creators, it is a way to express their creative side.

   “It’s a lot of fun, and a lot of people get creative with their videos,” stated Sfair.

   Considering how popular the app is now, it looks like TikTok could remain one of the most-used social media outlets for a while.

   “I mean Vine died, Facebook isn’t as popular as it was anymore. I think it’ll lose its popularity at one point, but not for a while in my opinion,” stated Sutterield.

   Some may claim that TikTok is just as “distracting” as any other social media app out there. However, the endless supply of short, entertaining videos keeps users on the app for extreme amounts of time. Regardless of what these users are watching, the app appears to take away time from responsibilities, and causes teens to compare themselves.