Candice Anvari staff writer
TikTok is overwhelmingly the most popular social media platform among teens, but the app’s addictive propensity is a downside to its mind-boggling success. If the app were less addictive it’d be worth downloading, but that’s not the case.
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, the app reached a total of 1 billion downloads worldwide as of this year. Videos created by the millions of users earn about 17 billion views on a monthly basis. Clearly, TikTok has reached many people over the course of one year, but downloading the app may not be in a person’s best interest.
TikTok’s “For You” page is an algorithmic feed based on the variety of videos a user interacts with. The problem with this algorithm is that it’s hard to escape. Personally, when I use the app, I lose my sense of time because I’m hypnotized by the algorithm the app created for me. The algorithm’s purpose is to get users addicted to the app, but this addiction could potentially be harmful to students. As a student, I spend an endless amount of time scrolling through my feed, forgetting about all the tasks I need to complete before the next day. TikTok makes my mind go blank while I’m on the app; but, once I exit the app, I’m overwhelmed by all the work I forgot about during the mesmerizing time I spent on my feed.
Granted, not getting addicted to TikTok is much easier said than done. Each video on the app can only last up to 60 seconds, which makes it extremely effortless to consistently scroll through the “For You” page without even giving it a second thought. TikTok is similar to Vine in terms of content and content length. Vine was popular with its 200 million users, but the data reveals that TikTok is much more popular. TikTok videos are based on a user’s interests; but the app is not like Instagram, where eventually a person knows when to stop scrolling because they’ve lost interest. Users on TikTok are constantly making new videos by the minute, creating an endless supply of things to watch. The endless supply is mainly what makes the app so dangerously addictive. A person will never run out of things to watch because they can always find something they’ll be interested in with one simple search.
A question is worth asking: should the app be downloaded? In the long-run, no. TikTok takes away from productivity and creates a personalized algorithm that makes it harder for people to exit the app. It would be in a person’s best interest to save themselves from hours of scrolling, and instead do something more productive with their time. If a person doesn’t have an addictive personality, the app has many advantages such as life hacks, cooking, cleaning tips and comedy, but people should keep in mind that it is easy to get addicted to things that stimulate joy.