As we all know, Tik Tok is the fastest growing social media platform in the world. Everyday Tik Tok has nearly 800 million users on the platform. Globally, the average time spent on TikTok per day is 52 minutes, with 90% of users accessing it on a daily basis. Take it from me – a 20-year-old college student (and summer account intern at The Miller Group), I believe it’s become yet another distraction – and far worse, an addiction.
Here’s my experience: After liking a specific video, Tik Tok starts sending similar videos. Well, this is no coincidence. Tik Tok, just like many other social media platforms, uses some variation of a recommendation algorithm to provide accurate content that fits the behavior of users like you and me. As soon as we enter the platform, we are hit with an infinite viewing experience of 15 second videos by young creators we never actually chose to watch.
Considering that 41% of Tik Tok users are 16-24 years old, Tik Tok has the ability to be very impressionable. Thus, it’s obvious that social dangers occur considering that an auto recommended platform uses the viewing data of a naive audience to engage with its platform. Some may even say this is pure manipulation to a young individual’s perception of what is socially acceptable behavior and what are formed beliefs. Additionally, the more impressionable the user, the more they lack control to disengage from the platform, leaving the platform with more data to accurately recommend that individual appropriate content. And that’s where the cycle begins. One that has a spiraling effect.
Although social media addiction is not viewed as a physical addiction by means of the DSM-5, Tik Tok users exhibit many of the same characteristics of addiction. Such symptoms are: negative health effects, obsessive behavior, and an inability to stop viewing. Furthermore, addiction is also sparked by a neurological component. Specifically, the short videos provide us with relevant information that stimulate a dopamine response. And the process is constantly reinforced by means of being supplied with more recommended videos.
Ultimately, this sense of connection and distant engagement while being fully anonymous and having our recommendations be chosen for us opens the door for addiction. However, in my opinion, this problem will never be resolved because platforms such as this one have become so widely accepted that they play an important role in keeping us up to date with the world around us.