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The potential negative effects of TikTok usage during Covid-19

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

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How can parents help educate their children on the effects of TikTok?

TikTok, the massively popular video app among teens is taking charge of households worldwide. Users from a wide array of backgrounds share their 60-second videos of themselves dancing, exercising, crafting, and providing advice. Users make outrageous and even dangerous, videos to get more likes and followers. Hashtag challenges are an easy way to gain likes, but some of the challenges are not appropriate for teens. Some experts report it can be easy to come across triggering content on the app that could promote issues like self-harm or eating disorders. Many “influencers” and “fitspiration” idols have taken over the platform flooding the “for you page” with hypocritical and controversial videos. Like Instagram wasn’t enough? The average TikTok user spends 52 minutes per day on the platform, engaging, sharing, and creating videos to share with their followers. In those 52 minutes, how many times have our youth consumed a misinformed video? Perhaps a how-to video on a morning routine to lose that stubborn belly fat? Or maybe even how to make low-calorie pasta? While these videos may only be 60 seconds in length it can have lasting effects on one's self-perception. Social media platforms like TikTok put an interesting lens on the creation of the self, and how this construction can affect our well-being is unbelievable. The constant daily evaluation of thy self in opposition from our idols is negatively affecting our youth. The ease of comparison to the unrealistic “ideals” lead to dissatisfaction with our appearance. And what do we do about it? We learn ridiculous dances and choreographed workout sequences to model our idols for an ounce of gratification from our followers. Or even better yet the hopes of being featured on the for you page. The heightened leisure time during quarantine has promoted the extended usage of TikTok forcing teens and our youth to lower their step count and increase their viewing time. What can parents do to combat this? Do not promote the removal of TikTok but simply create awareness. Educating your children on the harmful effects of unfiltered content can only provide benefits. Educating our youth on how to create informed decisions can aid them as they enter their crucial adolescent years. Educate. Promote healthy habits. And impose positive self-reflective techniques in our youth.

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