Like most of the people from my generation, I spend a decent amount of time on my phone. There are so many applications nowadays that I can waste my time on, but I frequently find myself on one app in particular: TikTok. Filled with all sorts of peculiar content, this app stands out to some teens, myself included.
I became aware of TikTok after one of my friends wouldn’t stop sending me videos they had found there. I didn’t think much of it at first, but now whenever I get a break, I find myself clicking on the retro colored music note icon.
On TikTok, there is a large range of comedy, from extremely light-hearted to very dark. You can also find a lot of videos of people doing dance challenges, a popular one is “Renegade”. Other types of content one can find on the app are point-of-view videos. This is where the contributor uses an audio clip, lip syncs, and uses the caption of the video to describe what type of scenario is happening. “Life Check” videos are very common as well, where people show off a specific part of their life to see who relates.
Yes, there is a whole bunch of goofy and useless content, but there are also videos where people share very personal and serious experiences.
I was scrolling through my “For You” page and a girl around my age popped up with the caption, “Toxic Boyfriend Check.” The video was of her sitting down and surrounding her were little speech bubbles of controlling phrases that her boyfriend had said to her, things like “no one will ever be able to deal with you but me,” and, “ you can’t have any friends that are guys.” Posts like these are what make TikTok different from other social media platforms.
Social media has a reputation for causing increased loneliness and being the cause of many other social issues, but I believe that Tiktok is helping change that stereotype. It offers people, especially teenagers, the ability to truly be themselves and find others who may be going through the same thing.
“Sometimes people post things and it’s like, ‘wow I’m not alone, that happens to me too’,” said Lili Peixotto, a sophomore at SRHS. She spoke about how the people on there are what make TikTok so different from the other social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.
People only use those other applications to update their status . However, on TikTok, one is allowed to be as honest and different as possible, that is exactly what makes the content so special and alluring for teenagers.
In the beginning, most people downloaded TikTok as a joke to make fun of it. Now, some find themselves spending long periods of time on the app. One student who preferred to remain anonymous claims to spend nearly 9 hours a week on the app.
Like Instagram influencers and Youtubers, TikTok has their own type of fame. Just like other social media platforms,“Everyone wants to be famous on TikTok, that’s their goal,” said Ryan O’Hagan, a junior. O’Hagan not only enjoys watching videos on TikTok, but she mentioned that it feels good to be apart of a community, and make TikToks.
“I think it’s funny how people make them at school too,” said Senta Ritter, a senior. Some students even film their videos right on the grounds of SRHS.
Ritter had the experience where she was unable to leave her night P.E. class because 2 girls were in the middle of the hallway filming a tiktok.
“They have so much more freedom and can be so much more creative than on the other ones,” said senior Daniela Mendieta. She sees a value in the difference in the type of content that people post on TikTok.
Even though there are students at SR who believe that TikTok is a positive social media platform, there are still critics of the application.
Wilson Weisenburg, a senior, shared his opinion: “I think it’s dumb… I think there is a lot of stupid stuff.” Even still, he admitted to enjoying the cooking videos on his “For You” page.
It has been proven that teenagers are the age group that tends to feel increasingly lonely. At an age where teenagers are simply trying to learn about themselves and discover who they are, it is extremely reassuring to find people who share similar experiences.
“I’m not the only person who does that or who feels like that,” says Peixotto when describing her thoughts when she finds certain TikToks that pop up on her “For You” Page.
Not only is it a way to bring people together, but there is a lot of useful information provided by contributors. There are many certified physicians on TikTok who use the app as a way to provide safe sex advice out to the world for young adults. Attorneys will also provide basic legal advice on their page to make sure viewers are informed.
TikTok is filled with ridiculous content, yet it has videos of people sharing personal experiences. Contributors make videos about bullying, sexual harassment, traumatic experiences, family issues, and so much more.
Users feel comfortable sharing these experiences because the other users offer comfort and words of encouragement for their bravery in sharing. Yes, the support is from thousands of complete strangers, but that doesn’t feel any less comforting to the contributors.
There is one TikTok contributor that goes by the username,The Neon Vulture, who makes videos describing her experiences with sexual harassment and how she has dealt with it. Another example is that there are videos of people who are in the process of healing and share experiences of trauma from unhealthy relationships or the loss of a loved one in order to offer support and comfort for people who are going through the same things.
Videos about dealing with the immense amount of stress that school brings are also immensely popular on the app.
There will always be negative comments and content on every social media platform out there, but the positivity on TikTok overpowers the negative ones that surface.
To an extent, social media can be a virus that may distract teens from homework and have extremely negative effects. Nevertheless, it can provide a place for teens who are stressed or are going through things to find people who are going through the same things, giving them a sense of belonging.
TikTok is different from other social media platforms because the people use the app to express themselves in a much more honest manner that makes for content that people, especially teenagers can relate to.
At this age, it is so important to not feel like you are alone and TikTok provides a community feeling that people can connect with.