It’s Time To Tolerate TikTok



Photo by visuals on Unsplash

TikTok started in China in 2016.

Sophia Sarche, Staff Writer

TikTok is a social media app that is creative and creates a good community of people all over the world who can connect on one app. But is it bad for you? I think there is a line down the middle.

In April 2014, the app Musically was created, which was the first version of TikTok. Musically was a place where people made lip sync videos in 15 seconds or less — it was only for those lip sync videos. China bought the app in 2017, and then later, in the new year of 2018, TikTok was created. TikTok is now used for multiple purposes. 

You can use TikTok as a way of connecting to friends and family. You can use it as a way of expressing yourself and showing your friends what you’re into. On TikTok, you can learn a new trick, like a back flip, or learn how to do a TikTok dance. TikTok allows small businesses to collaborate with other creators. You can even learn new things like how to make a cake. Aside from educational and collaborative value, TikTok has a lot of funny videos of people doing funny stuff just for the sake of views and social media influence. One cool fact about TikTok is that there are over 100 million users on the app.

One creator, who chose a life of being an influencer, gets ready to create videos or podcasts for his fans. (Photo by Malte Helmhold on Unsplash)

Yes, TikTok is addictive.  According to a 2016 study published by the American Physiological Society, the average attention span before TikTok was 10-15 minutes.  Today, the average attention span is estimated to be about 8 seconds.

According to an article on The Bridge Chronicle, “After attention, these platforms target the reward system of the user. The actions of human beings are driven by necessities (food, sex, sleep, etc.) and rewards.  Our brain feels rewarded when an action or behavior gives us pleasure. Information is also one such commodity that brings rewards. The internal reward system is triggered by a neurotransmitter called Dopamine. It is the chemical that mediates pleasure in the brain. It is released during pleasurable situations…So, Dopamine creates a feedback loop that pushes individuals to redo the actions that gave them pleasure. This process is seen in many addictions and now in reels and TikToks. So when a user doesn’t like a video, they will constantly scroll to achieve the desired reward.”

It’s also important to note that TikTok is an app for 16 years and older according to the founder, Zhang Yiming. Since this is another social media app, there could, of course, be bullying, but there are protections in place and settings to make your account public or private.

It’s true that TikTok is addictive and bad for our attention span, and the theory of social media showing fake and edited pics is also true.  But TikTok has created a community where everyone of any race or ethnicity can be welcomed with open minds and no judgment.  I love getting creative videos for my small photography business. I love sending funny videos to my friends and family.

Overall, I think TikTok is a great first social media app to get before Snapchat or Instagram or any other social media app. TikTok has created a positive connection with users all over the world!