Tik Tok: the latest trend on campus … and everywhere else

TikTok, the most downloaded iOS app, officially hit one billion downloads in February 2019. Users have the ability to post one-minute videos, and the content ranges from dancing, makeup, work-outs, magic tricks, and more. The Dana Hall community has become consumed with TikTok. According to a Hallmanac survey, 63% of students have a TikTok account that they use regularly. Almost a quarter (23%) use it for less than half an hour daily, while 1 in 5 students (19.4%) use it for more than an hour a day. 

 Certain songs on TikTok grow into viral trends, in which users perform the same pre-choreographed dance, competing for “likes.” TikTok was launched in September 2017 by the Chinese developer ByteDance. According to the company, “TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.” 

Chloe Franco ’21 began using TikTok over the past summer and has already accumulated 1327 followers and a total of 12.8 thousand “likes.” Chloe started TikTok because she wanted to become famous, and she enjoyed watching the funny videos. Overall Chloe likes being an active member on TikTok, and enjoys dancing and creating content, but she does say that “sometimes it distracts me. … In the beginning it was more of a distraction, but has become less of one now.” 

Now that TikTok has grown and become popular with younger generations, there is a greater concern about whether it is an appropriate platform for children to be using. Chloe says that since TikTok has launched it has become more sexually suggestive, and “some of the things I see on TikTok, like some of the jokes, I wouldn’t want little kids to see.” 

My younger sister, who is in the fifth grade, though not at Dana, is one of these young children who have become obsessed with TikTok. She has fallen in love with creating videos, following trends, and dancing. Recently, Clara broke her foot while dancing along to a TikTok, leaving her in a boot for three months. Since Clara has started making TikToks, my mom has had to become more aware of the TikTok world. As a parent, my mom says that she is unsure about her thoughts on Clara using TikTok, and closely monitors her account. This surveillance began after hearing explicit songs coming from Clara’s phone, which concerned her about the content she may be watching. TikTok is the only social media platform my sister uses, as my mom views Instagram as “much more image based… and for Clara, I would prefer her not to be posting for ‘visual likes’, but more for activities.” 

According to a Hallmanac survey in November 2019, which received 242 responses, 100% of students have heard of TikTok, though only 63% have an account. Students had strong opinions about TikTok, both good and bad. The most common response was that TikTok is extremely addictive, cultivating an obsession that impedes on social and academic life. Like other social media platforms, TikTok has become a space for, as Chloe said, “pretty and skinny” people to become famous. One student exemplified two of the major criticisms that TikTok has faced: “Not good but so addictive. Also seeing all the pretty ppl make u feel bad about urself.” 

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