Is TikTok Good For the Mental Health of Teens?

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Emma Brooke, Reporter

While scrolling for hours on TikTok, teenagers might start to consider how the app affects mental health. The assignment a student knew was due that day is now missing. The chore a teen was assigned never got done. Just 10 minutes turns into two hours. To some, the app becomes an addiction that seems never ending. Is it good or bad?

After polling RCHS students, the results were that many students had varying beliefs about the app. 44% of students believed TikTok was good for their mental health, and 20% said it was bad for their mental health. 34% said it might affect their mental health. Students were also polled on a scale of 1 to 5 about how beneficial TikTok is to their overall happiness. 5.1% of people selected one, meaning that they believe TikTok does not affect their happiness. 10.3% selected two, 33.1% said three, 29.4% said four, and 22.1% said five. Number five on this scale translates to  TikTok being the reason the teen still has happiness. 14.7% of students wish TikTok had never been made. 47.8% of students said TikTok is their favorite social media app. 59.6% of students believe TikTok keeps them distracted and causes them to procrastinate. Lastly, students were asked about how it affects them. Many students said it was an outlet for fun and a distraction from the pandemic. The polls reflect that students enjoy the outlet TikTok. In many teens’ eyes, TikTok seems beneficial.

After polling students, it was time to get the opinion of a psychologist. Dr. Sarah Jones is the director of cadet counseling at VMI. Jones works daily with students in college who might need help.  

“Moderation, balance, and privacy settings [are important],” said Jones.“Young adults should use social media in moderation, much like all things in life.” 

Dr. Jones believes social media can also be beneficial to teens. 

“Strong connections to peer groups often provides us with a sense of belonging and support,” said Jones. “However, not all young adults feel that, and privacy regarding personal issues can be reducedー or worse, people can experience online bullying from peers.”

It seems TikTok can be a positive influence  for mental health depending on how the student uses it. TikTok can be an outlet of fun and comedy. On the other hand, it also can be an outlet for more negative feelings. Students can choose how it affects them in the videos they like and the amount of time they spend on it. Like Dr. Jones said, moderation is essential, like many other things in life. In conclusion, be smart when on social media like TikTok. Develop a schedule or an amount of use, so your time doesn’t get carried away.