How Does The New Viral App TikTok Affect Today’s Society

TikTok is a viral app in which users can make 15 to 60-second videos, those videos either entail comedy, dancing, or sometimes acting. TikTok right now is known around the world in the GEN-Z community and according to Brandtastic, it is one of the most popular social media apps. Brandtastic states it is “Extremely popular with Gen Z, TikTok is a glimpse into what it means to be growing up in today’s hyper-connected world.” So what is the effect TikTok has had on society? 

TikTok user and Imagine Prep freshman, Alexandria Downing shared information on how TikTok has affected the world.  Downing is a 14-year-old girl who has grown a large amount of followers on the app.  She currently has a little over 600 followers and has been using the app for over a year now. Downing creates dancing content and is a positive creator. She mentioned that in her future she would like to be an influencer.  Downing has given tips and tricks on how she gained the many followers she has now. Downing explained how she gets some of the recognition for her creations.

Anything trending, so like if there’s a specific dance like the “Renegade” or whatever then I do that dance multiple times and then put a for-you page as a caption and post it,” Downing said. “You have to have patience because you need people to see them and then you just keep doing it.”

This was one of many things Downing shared on how to get to where she is now with her social media platform. 

Within the topic of social media, it is not only important to get student and teen perspectives, but also perspectives of adults and educators. To share an adult perspective, Imagine Prep Principal Chris McComb shed some light on his experiences with social media and the influences it has on society. 

“…social media has a huge influence on people’s opinions, ideas, and self-worth you know, I mean how many times do people pick up their phone, and I can be guilty looking at Twitter and then sometimes I can be good and sometimes I can be not so good…,” McComb said.

He also mentioned a couple of online safety hazards and how social media isn’t always safe.  McComb provided a great example of how everything on the internet may not always be safe and how to take precautions. 

“There is something called Echo Chambers,” he said. “If you’re in these, this is where you’re just surrounded by certain ideas or people you start believing and I think that’s where it can be dangerous for society.”

McComb was able to provide many safety measures to use when on social media to both be safe and have fun.

In addition to McComb’s perspective, Imagine Prep’s School Counselor, Amy Boven touched on information related to mental health and the influences social media can have on young minds.

Boven was able to provide information on how and if TikTok could potentially damage a teen’s mental health.

“I think ultimately it (TikTok) can be a really dangerous outlet to get sucked into,” Boven said. “You are only seeing a snapshot of life that someone is willing to post instead of reality. This can give a false impression of what something should look like. People can start to compare their reality with a stranger’s digital life and that can be harmful.”

A chart shows the increased downloads of the viral app TikTok in 2020

Social media has been observed that it has a potential negative mental health risk. When downloading any kind of social media platform, there is usually an age that the creator of the app recommends for use.  TikTok, for example, asks for users to be at least 12 or older. 

Boven explained if social media can be more damaging to children and teens who access these apps at a younger age. 

“Social media can definitely have an impact on children and teens,” Boven said. “Social media accounts can give a false idea of what reality is, especially for developing brains who may not be able to distinguish what is a digital front vs reality.”

Well, how does TikTok affect today’s society? After hearing this question over and over again  was there an answer? Listening to all diverse perspectives it is true, any social media, no matter how old the user may be, can always risk their mental health.  Information on the internet may be misleading, but as explained above there is always a chance it is not. There is overwhelming information about this topic and so much not talked about including more of mental health.  When you create an account you open thousands of outlets that can lead to dangerous situations or new friendships to come. So the answer is yes, TikTok and many other social media platforms have had a big impact on today’s society some for the better and some for the worse. Just remember to stay safe!