TikTok is the hottest social media app of the day. One of the most prevalent concerns in regards to this platform is the effect it can potentially have on one’s mental health. Some argue that using TikTok puts kids in harm's way. Others claim that it can benefit their self-esteem. While both sides offer legitimate arguments, we try to be as objective as possible. In this article, we will explore various ways TikTok can affect today’s youth.
1. It’s Entertaining
While many argue that social media outlets, such as TikTok, can be distracting for children, the fact that they’re entertaining can’t be denied. TikTok is full of comedy sketches, duets, and interesting dances, all of which are very amusing for kids. Additionally, because TikTok is so prevalent among youngsters, they can feel left out if they aren’t using it. The fear of missing out (FOMO) syndrome is a real thing, especially among teenagers.
2. It Can Be Good for Making Friends
TikTok is considered to be a social network because it offers great potential for making new friends and forming new connections. This platform has millions of users worldwide, so it can also be great for inclusiveness. Some kids are naturally shy, so making in-person friends can be more difficult. However, social media removes the pressure of communicating directly, face-to-face, making it a lot easier for some kids to express their thoughts, feelings, and make new friends.
3. It Can Be a Good Creative Outlet While it might not appear so from the get-go, there is some art to making TikToks. For example, when making dancing TikToks, you have to choose between different filter options, make suitable music choices, and think of interesting dance moves. When making TikTok comedy sketches, you have to come up with a script and think of fun ways to act everything out. So, there is some method to the madness, which can be beneficial for kids’ self-expression and creativity. 4. It Offers Earning Potential It is a widely-known fact by now that TikTok creators are among the top paid in the influencer world. Currently, there are dedicated TikTok scouting agencies, dedicated TikTok creator houses, and a whole set of sponsors waiting to show off their products to their target audiences through this platform. Although only a small percentage of users get to this point, there’s always a chance that your kid might make it in the TikTok industry.
1. Your Kid Could Potentially Get Exposed to Sexual Predators
While the platform is working hard on mitigating issues concerning sexual predators reaching out to underaged kids, this issue is still prevalent on TikTok. Even though the platform is aimed at teens and kids, there are still many older users, which is completely fine – who are we to judge how you express yourself!? However, when these mature individuals send explicit messages and images to children, it becomes problematic. There have been numerous instances where parents had to report predatory behavior to the police. So, be careful!
2. It Can Harm Privacy
Also, TikTok can harm yours and your kids’ privacy. Generally, kids aren’t aware of privacy concerns that come with putting their lives on display for others. Often, kids film in front of their homes, show off their homes' interiors, share their locations, show off their parents' cars, and display the license plate, etc. The world is full of crazy people, and it only takes one bold enough to use this information for malicious purposes. That’s why you should consider installing a VPN on your kid’s device. What is a VPN? VPNs are software solutions that act as a gateway between the user and the web. They will conceal the user’s original IP address, ensuring that their online activities remain private and secure.
3. It’s Prone to Negative Comments
This is a prevalent issue with other large social media platforms as well. The more users a platform has the greater the chances of receiving negative comments. Even the platform’s top creators have expressed their concerns in regards to negative comments. Even they feel worried and insecure when reading them. Negative comments can severely impact one’s self-esteem and confidence, and even result in self-harm or body image issues.
4. It Can Harm Self-Esteem This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. A large volume of negative comments, or even a single one, can have a devastating impact on a kid’s self-esteem. TikTok, and other social networks, such as Instagram and Facebook, have been criticized for having negative effects on one’s confidence. This can deeply hurt one’s mental health. There have been instances where kids turned to self-harm or faced other issues, such as anorexia and bulimia, because of social media.
To learn more about TikTok and what you can do to support your kids, check out our TikTok Learning Hub.