Opinion Piece: TikTok is Corroding Today’s Youth
TikTok is a relatively new social media platform where people are able to share and upload 15-60 second videos with friends and followers. It is the most highly downloaded app today, with nearly 800 million active users worldwide. Of these users, about sixty percent are between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four. While TikTok tends to skew toward the younger generation, it attracts people of all different backgrounds, interests, and professions, and ages.
TikTok, like other social media platforms, is dangerous as it easily leads to child abuse and sexual exploitation, despite the fact that the company has a zero tolerance policy. Most of the posts are overtly inappropriate, discriminatory, and self-centered. Young children and teenagers are dancing in an inappropriate manner. The app also tends to exhibit certain discriminatory videos, such as mocking a certain way of dress, ethnic accents, or being simply cruel to others. This is especially concerning since kids are typically unable to discern when something is mocking, discriminatory or has an inappropriate undercurrent. The app exposes young children to profanities and slurs, often presented with heavily inappropriate music. Young kids are often seen mouthing words to songs with essentially every awful word and phrase you can imagine. It is troubling to see these children post videos doing highly unbecoming dance moves to inappropriate music. What’s more concerning is that most of these kids are not even aware of what these words actually mean. Although this platform showcases this problem, this is obviously an important issue affecting today’s youth in general.
At its best, TikTok can be really creative and fun. At worst, it can be discriminatory, self-promoting, and even recently deemed by some as a threat to our national security. Even if it does net somewhere in between, I am sure there are much better ways we could all be spending our time. Furthermore, the company profits off the exploitation of kids. TikTok is designed to be as addictive as possible, as the “For You Page” is customized based on what the user had previously liked. Mechanisms are in place to prevent boredom, such as an endless stream of 60-second videos. Thus, people are likely to spend hours on the app. Most people don’t even realize how much time they are spending since the app takes up the entire phone screen. This is not healthy or productive, and should be an issue that is both recognized and addressed.