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Tiktok and its effects on mental health (Essay Sample)


Explain the effects of ticktok on mental health


TikTok is a Chinese video-sharing application that was launched in China in September 2017. The android app has since been widely used worldwide to provide social networking services where users post videos from different genres like dance, education, and comedy. These videos have a duration that varies between fifteen seconds to three minutes. Up to now, tiktok has over two billion mobile downloads since it was launched. Mainly, the app is used by the young generation aged between fifteen to thirty-five years of age. The app is also used as an earning platform where the users get paid according to their number of followers and likes they get. The app has however been found to have an addictive characteristic among the youth who spend much of their time going through the posted content in the application. Such addiction has been found to have effects on the mental health of many young people.
Due to its proved effects on the mental health, the social app has since received a lot of opposition and banning from different countries and states. On 3rd August 2020, the then president of the United States of America, Donald Trump threatened to ban the app in the US. The president wanted the application to be bought by the American-based company Microsoft, a move that failed after several negotiations. On 6th August 2020, Donald Trump signed two executive orders banning and restricting the application's use within the States. However, a federal judge lifted the ban later in the year. The government of India also banned the app in June 2020 after a border clash with China. It was also banned in Pakistan due to 'indecent' and 'immoral' content posted on the app. This paper analyses the various mental problems and health issues that the app has caused, especially to the young generation, who account for most Tiktok users. 
Tiktok and its Effect on Mental Health
Tiktok is mainly used by its users as a socializing platform and a form of entertainment. However, this app has brought about mental-related issues, especially in the youth. A recently conducted research shows that Tiktok has indicated that forty-four percent of Tiktok users have mental-related problems like anxiety, stress, and self-esteem problems. The youth have made the socialists on this social platform their idols and role models. Low self-esteem comes about when they try to compare their lives to those of the 'celebrities' that they follow (Omar, Bahiyah, and Wang Dequan p125). When they don't get to the limits they see on these videos, the young youths end up in depression and stress.
The negative influence on the social media app has also led to online bullying where some of the uses have been criticized due to their videos, the content they create, and the type of fashion they have. This has also reduced the sense of belonging and even more depression (Zhu, Chengyan, P192). The youth have also ended up emulating the wrong behaviors from those they follow. They copy behaviors such as drug and abuse, use of dirty language, and even robbery with violence. Drug abuse is one of the reasons that has accounted for many deaths due to drug-related problems such as suicide, high blood pressure, and depression.
In as much as the creators of Tiktok are working hard to reduce the amount of sexual content that is posted on the platform, there's still a lot of explicit sexual content being posted, especially by old users who joined without so many restrictions (Omar, Bahiyah, and Wang Dequan p125). This content is reaching under-aged children. This has led to a lot of sex-related problems such as rape, masturbation, and diseases such as STIs and STDs. Victims of rape end up with stigma, depression, and withdrawal. Most victims of rape have been found to be mentally disturbed due to the mental picture that they are often left within their minds. They experience post-traumatic stress, and some of them end up committing suicide.
As human beings, it is essential for us to be able to forge interpersonal connections with one another. Tiktok has been related to a lack of socialization among the youth. Usually, they spend a lot of hours scrolling through the app to see the memes and videos posted on the app. They spend most of their time indoors and fail to go out and socialize with people in the outside world. Lack of strong social connections has been associated with mental and emotional health (Zhu, Chengyan, P192). Scholars say that lack of social relationships, especially in the early stages of brain development, can cause depression and anxiety. The isolation and loneliness brought about by spending most hours on social media make the young people lack socializing skills, lose track of family and friends, and also social networks, and therefore lack essential opportunities like jobs and important events such as family gatherings.
The application has been associated with digital distraction. Digital distraction is a condition found in addicted social media users where they use the content they read or view online to make their day-to-day judgments in their lives. They do not pay attention to their own personal judgment, they lack to memorize, and mainly lack to manage their tasks because they concentrate on one thing at a time (Zhu, Chengyan, P192). This lack of memory has brought about mental illnesses like dissociative amnesia, which involves breakdowns of memory, awareness, and self-identity. As a result, young people end up skipping essential duties to progress their lives.
The fear of being the 'last one to know is also one of the causes of stress and depression associated with the use of TikTok. The peer pressure among the youth has intensified this fear because they feel that the lack of knowledge on what is going around the internet makes them look foolish and dumb. Most youths spend time on TikTok viewing videos of musicians, actors, and content creators so that they are not left behind when they meet and talk with their friends and peers (Omar, Bahiyah, and Wang Dequan p125). This fear is also the reason why most young people cannot put down their phones. Due to lack of knowledge or likes or comments on a particular story or video, criticism from friends makes young people have low self-esteem and end up being depressed and stressed.
High expectation to get money or to be paid by Tiktok has also led to stress and depression among the users. Many young people around the globe want to make it in life or to become successful in life without hard work. Many people join TikTok with the aim of getting as many followers as possible so that they can be paid. When they do not get the result as quickly as they expect, they end up becoming stressed up (Kriegel, Elana p175). Some of them even end up deciding to post naked pictures of themselves to attract attention and increase the number of followers. Lack of rewards or returns increases depression, low self-esteem, and severe stress. They try to compete with other celebrities for likes and followers.
Tiktok has also been associated with digital age vulnerability. Digital age vulnerability refers to the early or premature use of social media by young children. A study has revealed that the earlier the children start to use social media and the internet, the greater the impact on their mental health. This has been found to have a greater impact on the girl child. As the girls' bodies begin to change and grow physically, they tend to want to show off their body and emulate the videos they watch on the app, including how they dress, how to apply makeups on their face and how to make their hair (Omar, Bahiyah, and Wang Dequan p125). Usually, when they don't look like they see or expect, they don't accept their natural figure or looks and end up getting depressed. The hurtful comments they get from the comment sections about their looks also increase stress and mental illness related to stress.
Filtered images and videos posted on TikTok have made the young generation drift away from the reality of life. It becomes difficult for them to tell what's real and what is not at a time when they are mentally and emotionally developing. They end up lacking impulse control when their frontal lobes are not fully developed (Kriegel, Elana p175). The change in copied behavior that is a times not even real builds a fake image of a person, as they try to drift away from reality. The wrong mental perception and translation of the world can lead to psychotic disorders, which are often characterised by withdrawal from friends and family, inability to engage in studies, and a lot of mood swings.
As a child is growing, they need their parents for their psychology and fragile brains to develop. The addiction to Tiktok has made the interaction between children and parents less and reduced. Both the children and their parents spend time on their smartphones scrolling through videos posted on TikTok. This has made the parents have less time to keep track of their child's behaviors and time to advise them (Berryman, Chloe, Christopher Ferguson, and Charles Negy P310). The children now depend on what they learn from their peers and role models they see on the app. Consequently, they copy destructive behaviours like substance abuse. When they become addicted and lack money to buy the drugs, they steal from their parents and even their neighbors. Furthermore, these drugs have mental illnesses like psychosis.
Addiction is a mental disorder that is caused by prolonged use of something. The TikTok app is designed in a way that it always brings the content that the user is interested in. For example, if you are interested in music, most of the videos that you'll find on the app are about music and musicians. If you are interested in fashion, most of the content will be about fashion and so on. As a result, th...

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