This is a response to “TikTok Sparks Growing Concern in the US Over Harmful Effects on Students”
I think that while TikTok has been great for many young people for many different reasons from learning about political issues to having a platform to voice certain injustices, it is also important to evaluate the negative effects of TikTok on its impressionable audience.
In its entirety as a video sharing platform, TikTok has been a great outlet for teenagers to let out some emotions and build an online community. With these positive effects, teenagers on TikTok are able to align their political views further, they are able to curate a sense of style that fits them and they are given a source of inspiration/entertainment.
Although, there are negative aspects that also prevail in light of all the positive ones. TikTok is notorious for silencing creators speaking about important issues, it tends to push out negative hashtags (about body image, bullying, and other issues that are important to teenagers, especially teenage girls), and it also has been a great medium for pushing out the polarizing views of both political sides.
Hate on TikTok is sometimes uncontrollable and certain creators are targeted for mistakes that they made years ago, sometimes rightfully so but also not all the time. TikTok is so harsh that creators often have to quit the app and take a break as their mental health is on a downward spiral. As an app, TikTok has also played a role in blindsiding people to believe that only one side is right at all times.
Overall, impressionable teens flock to an app like TikTok because it is enticing to say the least. Although, at such a young age, teens are unsure of online decorum and the proper handling of issues on social media. In order for TikTok to be better for its audience, the app has to re-evaluate some of its foundational aspects and make safety towards teenagers their top priority.