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Honest downsides of TikTok

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FEBRUARY 02, 2023

From dancing trends to awkward storytimes, TikTok is a social media app that has it all. It’s the app of choice for many of us who just want to pass the time and have a good laugh. While TikTok is a great app for spreading news, discovering new recipes and starting trends, its addicting algorithm has some downsides. Here are some of the drawbacks that I’ve felt while using TikTok.

Promotes overconsumption

TikTok is known for its short videos ranging from a few seconds to minutes, making it perfect for users to share their favorite products or do hauls in a short amount of time. With so many people promoting their Amazon favorites or holy grail skincare products, viewers are inclined to want to learn more about these products and purchase them. However, this often leads to overconsumption and excessive waste as people follow the latest trends and discard products as soon as they are no longer relevant.

Romanticizes mental health disorders

Gen Z users may have effectively destigmatized conversations about mental health on TikTok by discussing their experiences, but on the other hand, sometimes these seconds-long videos don’t tell the entire story of someone’s struggles with mental health, ultimately downplaying or romanticizing the severity of mental health issues. There is also a tendency for many to joke about their mental health online, which can make it difficult for others to understand the line between dark humor and how debilitating mental health issues can be.

Encourages cancel culture

Cancel culture seems to be a prominent issue on TikTok, due to the virality of videos and individuals produced by its algorithm. It’s not hard to become viral on TikTok, which has its pros and cons. With millions of users on the app, words and actions can easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted, resulting in a cancel-like culture on the app. When someone gets “canceled,” this news spreads fast, leading to the ostracizing of and contempt toward the affected individual.

Shortens attention span

One reason why TikTok is so addicting is because of its algorithm that allows users to continue scrolling through short videos. Once a user is no longer interested in something, all they have to do is scroll on to the next video, shortening the amount of time one spends watching a video.  While this is beneficial in the TikTok world, the real world does not allow individuals to scroll past something they don’t like in matters of seconds. The use of TikTok shortens people’s attention span and its addictive nature encourages them to use TikTok during school or work when they get bored.

Understanding the cons of using TikTok and knowing its long-term negative effects can prevent addiction and participation in unhealthy TikTok culture. Because, despite all of its negatives, it has indeed become a critical part of pop culture and entertainment for a lot of people. Great memories, conversations and real-life adventures are often spurred by TikTok. Like with other social media apps, the key to having a good relationship with TikTok is to engage with it in moderation.

Contact Sophie Ward at 


FEBRUARY 02, 2023