TikTok: Is it just a trend?

How TikTok has affected teenagers on the internet


Photo by Connor Robb

Millard west students performing TikTok dance together. ”I love how fast TikTok is and all the different types of entertainment,” said junior Jenna Reynolds “if I have three minutes I can just watch a few videos.”

Connor Robb, Staff Reporter

Before I can give my full opinion on the TikTok trend as a whole, I must admit that I have never used Tik Tok. I am going into this as an outsider to understand the trend and fully understand what it means to be a TikTok user. By doing this I can see the trend blind and gather an unfiltered opinion on the app, allowing me to explore my experience with an open mind. 

I have seen three different perspectives when it comes to the “high school experience” with the app. One, it’s the greatest thing on earth and we must devote ourselves to it. Two, an absolute hatred of the app because of its more toxic or stupid aspects, and three, it’s just something when you have nothing better to do. The third is the most rational and what I believe most of its younger users’ intended purpose is for the app. After downloading the app I went headfirst into my TikTok journey and was instantly hit with repetitive content of the same dances over and over.

I spent about seven or eight hours with TikTok in total and throughout my time using it I never enjoyed what I saw mostly doing it to just pass the time when I had nothing better to do. I feel like this is common, as most of the people I spoke to said they just wanted something to do when they have nothing better.

This brings up the addictive nature of TikTok with many kids making them in classes and using every opportunity in a day to watch and make TikToks. With 1.5 billion downloads the app seems intentionally addictive and used the fast 5-10 second videos to make its users feel like they’re watching less. viewers can just watch a few and a couple of hours later they’ll realize they’ve spent a large amount of time on the app. This is dangerous when teenagers bring it into a school environment, as it will stop the education process when students are enraptured by the app.

TikTok only helps increase the growing media addiction that our generation has created. The business of apps found that TikTok has a 52-minute average a day between all of its users which is much higher than other social media apps. Nine out of ten users use the app multiple times throughout the day, And 41% of the app’s users are teens, this means the app is very popular with young people aged between 16-24 the most common ages for media addiction.

What makes TikTok more addictive than other apps and social media platforms is the interface and how content reaches users. With many other websites, I only see the posts of people I follow. With TikTok using a personalized page, it allows the website to manufacture what you specifically like and cater the content to your interests. This is most similar to Instagram with videos being recommended based on your searches and interests. This, however, is the app’s biggest problem as well.

My biggest problem with the app is how repetitive it is. The nature of TikTok is that anything can trend and very similar videos will flood your personalized page. Which is its most unique and worst feature if I enjoyed a joke the first time. I saw it. The app’s algorithm says that I will like it the more I see it. Some might enjoy this feature, but for me, by the eighth time I’ve seen the same joke I’m over it. This is different from apps such as YouTube which recommends similar videos as opposed to the same video made by different people. This is the nature of TikTok, however,  using what is popular copying it and use it to get an advantage making it very easy to gather a following on the app and become “famous” unlike many other apps where content creators have to work hard and have talent, with TikTok, it’s just about getting lucky.

Many people like TikTok because of how open it is and how anyone can become famous. This is what drives the app and adds to its popularity that other people of similar age can like your content. It’s less about what the app is and more about what it represents. Teenagers expressing themselves and being open about who they are allowing them to feel important and raise self-esteem. This sounds positive, but can also be negative with many taking a negative approach and not helping but hurting the community that people found on TikTok.

So is TikTok just a trend? Maybe. Like many other apps, it might come and go but it could easily become very widespread and cater to everyone with small adjustments. It’s really too early to tell, but it’s a very unique app that stays separate from other apps and does its own thing. Some will hate this, some will love it,  as for me I stand in the middle. It has its positives but it also has its negatives.