TikTok: Is it Worth Your Time?

Luisa Madadov

It’s no secret that over the past few years, TikTok’s popularity has exploded. With over 3 billion downloads globally, the numbers continue to grow. This social media platform has allowed people worldwide to share short videos. This is primarily for entertainment purposes, and having billions of downloads and users, usually leads to positives and negatives. 

First and foremost, Learning should be fun. Moreover, in May 2020, the platform announced “LearnOnTiktok,” which was a way for school kids to learn from educational institutions and real-world professional experts. The app pledged $250 million to support its community during the pandemic according to Fanbytes, a leading social media and influencer agency. Some of the content was science videos from Bill Nye, a popular science educator, and daily grammar lessons from Claudine James who is an eighth-grade teacher. 

“Gen Z holds an attention span of 8 seconds”, according to Abby Sklencar from Onlineoptimisim; a digital marketing and design agency. That is why TikTok is an excellent way to capture their interest in educational content. The short videos are more engaging and on enjoyable learning formats. Some creators even show tricks to solving difficult arithmetic problems. Although this shouldn’t be a permanent form of education, it is a useful way to gain knowledge from your interests. “Most of the stuff on TikTok teaches us more than school ever taught us and in only a few minutes”, says Junior Angelina Dona, a student at Copper Hills High. Gen Z’s desire to learn more isn’t just allowing them to expand their knowledge around their own interest, but it’s useful advice for establishing their careers and preparing for the future. For example, many medical professionals share what they do during their job and routine. There are many other professionals that show how their job works which is a great way to look at what suits you the most.  

This app even allows you to work with other brands and companies to promote your brand, making it perfect for entrepreneurs. They can gain insight from profitable entrepreneurs to successfully market their small businesses. Many have used TikTok to advertise new opportunities. Some companies have joined to show off their products to influencers who then review them on TikTok.

Likewise, on the medical side of TikTok, doctors share important information on health care. As a board-certified dermatologist and Yale School of Medicine alumna, Dr. Brittany Craiglow ’04 MED ’09 says, “It’s a method to contact people and get them information that’s genuinely factual.” Medical professor, Dr. Don Dizon, uses his platform on cancer research and treatments. Dr. Craiglow produces a variety of material for TikTok, spanning everything from general skincare advice to melanoma warning signals. An educational TikTok about two activities that are bad for skin health, smoking and indoor tanning, is one of her most popular ones.

“The two greatest things about TikTok are creativity and freedom”, says, Giselle Pavon, a Junior from Copper Hills High. Users can post as much as they want or as little as they’d like. This makes it more comfortable for users to decide how much content they want to share. Many have shared their unique talents and have had a lot of success. Millions of users worldwide gain fame and make money with it. There are new trends almost every week that keeps TikTok grow faster and popularity just keeps rising. 

However, there are also negative qualities to TikTok. One main issue is addiction. According to Brandon Doyle from Wallaroo Media, “Americans spend up to 26 hours a month solely on TikTok”. The more they scroll the more attentive and engaged they become. When the majority of the videos are shorter than 30 seconds it makes it easy to spend hours on TikTok without realizing it because you don’t get bored. Bullying is another situation that occurs throughout the app like any other social media. Some may criticize others and negatively comment on posted videos. All this negativity can impact one’s mental health. Spending too much time on TikTok can affect your sleep and have unrealistic views of other people’s lives. Fortunately, there is an option to report those who spread this negativity and it is highly recommended you do. 

In a recent controversy, the Senate has passed a bill to ban the app from government devices. The reason for this was the fact that TikTok collects a lot more data than any other app according to a recent study. In the report, YouTube, which is owned by Google, mostly collects your personal information for its own uses, such as tracking your location or past internet search activity to deliver relevant adverts. However, TikTok, a Chinese internet company controlled by ByteDance, primarily permits outside trackers to get your data. The study even reported that third-party trackers can track your activity on other sites once you leave the app. Studies say it’s still unclear where all that data goes.

As of now, Tiktok is expected to grow in popularity with its 750 billion active users. Downloading TikTok has come with a major bonus of receiving expert advice within 15-second videos. It has all-in-one subjects, product reviews, life hacks, and tips and tricks. However, it’s incredibly important to be aware of the negatives. Using a platform such as TikTok should be a good experience. Make sure to limit how long you spend on the app.