TikTok is one of the most widely used social media and content sharing tools across the world.
With its advent there have been a lot of things that work positively and negatively for the application.
This article explores the mental effects of using the social media and content creation application TikTok.
Is TikTok Bad For Your Brain?
TikTok as a platform uses the user data, surf history and other such details to show suggested content on their social media application.
Applications like TikTok, YouTube shorts, Instagram and others rely on the instant release of dopamine the user gets when they surf videos and scroll through suggested content.
Once the user puts down their mobile for activities like sleep, their dopamine levels drop drastically and they feel sadder until they can get their hand back on their mobiles or laptops to start the process again.
The whole process can get so bad that it can be compared to addiction. This addiction can actually take away from social life where the user sees everything as just content and nothing seems of any consequence.
Without any constraints on the viewing time and keeping no check on their habits has led a lot of teenagers to have multiple psychological issues by using TikTok.
Many users have reported eating disorders, anxiety, depression, bullying etc from their use of TikTok.
Current generation sees this as a tool to earn money and fame and sometimes instant fame comes with a lot of consequences,which the user may not have planned for.
In recent news, a Chinese influencer Cuihua died of unknown reasons in a bid to lose weight to motivate her followers.
This is the second news coming from China after two popular influencers died from binge drinking.
As seen by studies, most people on TikTok are teenagers,this is a worrying sign for the next generation around the world.
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What Does “TikTok Brain” Mean?
TikTok videos are an instant source of entertainment and feel good factor for the modern generation but this has also led to a lot of issues related to mental health and addiction.
The adverse effects that arise out of TikTok usage is the reason it is called a TikTok brain. It is also called so because it is like a ticking time bomb that leads to other more serious issues related to mental health.
Like a candy the app holds the attention of the younger generation and sooner than later they find it difficult to focus on other important things.
Social anxiety and eating disorders are very well known examples of the effects of a TikTok brain.
TikTok was deliberately planned and created in a way that it targets your dopamine receptors and ensures that you stay on the app as long as possible .
The number of people with ADHD has increased around the world due to the application there are more years to come.
The data of behaviours of each user that TikTok collects it uses in its algorithm to suggest posts.
This algorithm promotes content that is really addictive for each user and it coaxes the brain into carrying on.
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More Disadvantages Of TikTok
TikTok as an app has become such a worldwide phenomenon but it comes with its own downsides.
There is a huge list of things that the app propagates in people at a subliminal or supraliminal level.
On a psychological level the instant dopamine results in a lot of mental issues where absence of self control ensures that users get obsessed with their status online which is a rabbit hole.
The various mental issues range from:
- Eating Disorders
- Negative Self image
- Insomnia or sleep deprivation
There is also a larger conspiracy that involves governments and a cyber warfare mechanism.
Students and teenagers in the US are easily getting brainwashed into believing in specific ideologies, but we are not going to dwindle this to the political landscape.
Security issues are also a part of the discussion with TikTok being the app that shares the most data of its users.
Can Lead To Short Attention Span
Due to the video size being limited, our brain gets wired to only concentrate for a few seconds before we switch to the next video.
This prompts our mind to behave in the same way with everything while our attention span keeps dwindling.
The instant gratification that these short videos offer becomes a norm and if anything we do does not offer the same, we start feeling anxious.
This short attention span issue also results in other mental disorders like ADHD.
In general, modern use of technology has led to decreased attention spans and loss of focus, it is one of the adverse effects of being over reliant on technology.
It Can Lead To Addiction
Instant gratification is one of the biggest factors for TikTok, YouTube Shorts and Instagram reels.
The serotonin and dopamine release is not limited to watching videos, getting likes and shares on social media contribute equally to induce happiness and euphoria.
The addiction to TikTok leads to users losing track of time and then it hampers their daily productivity in everyday life.
Even when going out with friends or having dinner with family, it has become a staple for many people to pull out their mobile phones and start using social media apps.
Addiction can only be tackled by keeping a track on how much time we spend on social media.
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Promotes Superficial Beauty Standards
Many young users on TikTok are easily influenced by the beauty standards that are uploaded by their favourite content creators.
Once they see something they like, they will want to get their hands on the marketed product. This is like wiring a brain.
The superficial beauty on show in the TikTok app promotes a lot of negative body image and self image issues.
This eventually results in depression, anxiety and eating disorders as well.
TikTok and other social media apps have also led to a huge surge in cosmetic surgeries
Most people that are viewing social media are trying to relax and catch a break during their office hours or surfing it just as a fun activity.
So most of the content suggested are light hearted ones.
Users that get suggested content that are not creative and in most cases they resemble the trends of a given time.
When creators follow trends they are just replicating the same thing another user created. The creativity of writing scripts and creating a new trend is lost in all this.
Also Read: How Does TikTok Make Money?
Predators On The App
For kids using TikTok parents need to be really careful as it is not the safest option with a lot of predators online.
TikTok has not ensured that teenagers are safe on the application by creating proper security measures.
Instead the application completely directs the whole responsibility on parents and guardians, asking them to ensure that their kids use the application under their supervision.
Such predatory behaviours have to be reported and the action is taken after a panel reviews the report.
This could be a little too late in many cases as the perpetrators can create new accounts once their account is blocked.
Bullying and Harassment
Social media identities are a must in the current world and being online also means anyone can bully and harass you.
With TikTok, bullying can lead to a lot of negativity and a lot of negative self image issues which can actually get serious
Any harassment or bullying needs to be reported immediately so that TikTok can do whatever is needed.
There is no sure shot method to tackle this issue as there are a lot of internet users from around the world and the best way to tackle this issue may be ignorance.
Damaging To Self Esteem
There are a lot of fake beauty standards that are promoted on social media.
Many of these videos where creators mention what beauty is about makes the viewers feel like they miss something.
This puts them in a lot of mental situations where they pity themselves, question themselves and denigrate themselves.
Besides the beauty standards and other skill related departments, the above mentioned point about harassment and bullying also contributes to lowering self esteem.
Many users are worried about what people think of them, hence they start believing that they are not good enough.
TikTok is here to stay since it has a huge base of users but until they concentrate on the complaints, they will not stay here for long.
Many countries around the world, like India and USA have banned the app citing security reasons.
There is a gaping security hole in the name of TikTok and until they tackle the issues mentioned above, there are many who will stop using the platform.