The Truth about TikTok: Why teens are addicted to the app (2023)


TikTok is a social media app that is gaining massive popularity among internet users. Most of the users aren’t aware of the fact that TikTok wasn’t the first app to introduce short video content. There existed already a Chinese app called “Douyin” which belongs to the parent company of TikTok. Since Douyin was only available in China, the parent company “ByteDance” wanted to expand its app in the international market. So they acquired a similar app at that time “Musically” and changed its name to TikTok. By doing this, ByteDance already acquired enough users to grow in the international market. 

With 1Billion+ downloads, it is one of the most popular entertainment apps out there. A recent study showed that an average TikTok user spends 1.5 hours each day browsing TikTok. While most people enjoy the app, it has also created concerns about privacy and the type of content available on TikTok.

 Released in September 2016, TikTok managed to get 1.53 Billion downloads out of which it gets a total of 1 Billion active users monthly. There’s no doubt TikTok has gained a massive audience in just a matter of 6 years.

Here are the top reasons why TikTok is successful in gaining audiences:

1. Short-form video

TikTok is mainly popular for its short video content, usually from 30 seconds to 1 minute. It is perfect for people with short attention spans. This is one of the main reasons it is popular among teens.

2. Trendy and creative content

TikTok is also responsible for the majority of the trends in today’s world. Since the videos are made by normal people, teens can relate to the content of the video and they can enjoy the video and are able to connect to the creators.

3. Algorithmic recommendation

TikTok algorithm is designed to study users’ behavior and recommend the content they enjoy. This will ultimately make users spend more time at the app and ensure they’ll return back to the platform.

4. Social Features

Like a normal social media app, TikTok also has features to like, comment, share, and chat with others. This creates a sense of community among the users and encourages users to engage with each other. 

5. Music integration

With the integration of music, Tiktok has been popular among teens who love to create and share their own versions of music videos.

The dark side of TikTok:

1. Addiction and Time-wasting

TikTok’s algorithm is by far the most intelligent algorithm among social media apps and is designed to keep the users engaged with the app, even if it costs the user’s well-being.

2. Inappropriate content

TikTok somehow promotes inappropriate content to get more engagement. It includes promoting controversial topics, sexual content, and violent content which has an adverse effect on the user’s mind. 

3. Privacy concerns

TikTok has been always criticized for its privacy-related issues like changing the terms and conditions to collect the users’ biometric data like facial expressions and voice to make users more engaged by recommending similar content on their feeds. Also, there have been multiple reports that found TikTok to be taking the data from the user’s clipboard which is sensitive. This app has also been accused of censoring content that is critical to the Chinese government. 

4. Cyberbullying

Unlike other social media apps, users can choose to stay anonymous on TikTok which directly leads to spreading more hate across the platform. This can have serious consequences for individuals who are targeted. 

How parents can help their teens stay safe on TikTok

1. Set Privacy settings

Parents must make sure that the account they are using is private. This can prevent them from unnecessary attention and messages and maintains privacy. 

2. Monitor Their Activity

Without invading your kid’s privacy, monitor the type of content they are consuming and monitor the contents they are uploading and make sure they are informed about the dark side of the app.

3. Educate your kid about the online safety

Everyone has access to the internet these days. So it’s high time to educate your teens about online safety. Encourage them to avoid sharing personal information and never meet up with someone they’ve met online.

4. Encourage Positive Behaviour

Encourage your child to consume educational content and use the app in a positive way. Encourage them to create videos that promote positivity, respect, and kindness.

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Overall, TikTok’s unique features and algorithmic recommendations make it a popular platform among teens. It’s important to note that not all content on TikTok is bad, and many users enjoy using the platform in a positive and productive way. However, like any social media platform, TikTok has its downsides and users should be aware of these concerns.

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