To Tok Or Not?

By Lily Bourne

With calls to ban TikTok growing louder, many people have begun to question the necessity of the platform. TikTok hosts over 120 million monthly users on iOS alone, and the average user spends over an hour and a half on the app every day. However, many teens report screen times as high as 10 hours per day solely on TikTok! With such impressive statistics, the question arises: is it worth it to be on TikTok?

To Be: 

TikTok’s incredible algorithm works through thousands of videos to curate a page specifically for the user’s interests. It can bring new perspectives on intriguing topics and allow users to learn new things, while also including relatable content and nostalgic memories. TikTok is also the host of many trends, some of which relate back to its roots as a dancing and music-sharing app. Having access to TikTok allows viewers to participate in trends and understand many online references that might not make any sense to an outside viewer. Not only that, but posting on TikTok can be a fun and even lucrative pastime for many. Some users promote their small businesses or services on TikTok, and it can be a great way for consumers to find new places to support. Overall, TikTok brings together many communities while also allowing for a lot of creativity and flexibility in its creators and consumers. 

Not To Be:

Recently, I made the decision to delete TikTok, and I highly recommend that my fellow high school students do the same. After noticing my screen time reaching far beyond the time I was spending on my homework, I decided it was time to make a change. The worst part, as many who have considered deleting the app already know, was deleting all of my drafts, but I still have my favorites downloaded and also freed up a lot of storage on my phone. The biggest change I found immediately was the decrease in the amount of time I was on my phone. Without spending mindless hours on TikTok, I was able to catch up on homework and spend more time with friends and family. While a few short videos every day might not seem like a big difference, it really does add up. Even if you do not use all of your new free time to study, it’s still better than staring at a screen for hours. In addition, I found my mental health and social life improved a lot after deleting TikTok. I failed to realize it at the time, but the hours I spent on TikTok were also hours spent ignoring friends’ texts and sitting in my room instead of spending time with others. TikTok causes its users to constantly compare themselves to the curated images of others, who live often unattainable lives. This causes a huge mental health issue for many viewers, as they feel a strange addiction to watching more and more TikTok, in hopes of learning how to achieve these impressive lifestyles. However, once you take a step away from the addicting For You Page and the hours and hours of mindless scrolling, you can be a lot more present in your own life. Instead of watching other people visit beautiful places, you could go out and visit them! Instead of watching other people study for their classes and continuing to procrastinate, you could start your homework! Deleting TikTok was easily worth it for me, and I recommend any other struggling student to do the same.