'Tik Tok Brain' - How Is Tik Tok Destroying The Mental Health Of Upcoming Generation

17th January 2023

As per a journal report “Tik-Tok Brain” is causing some serious issues in students as they are experiencing physical symptoms like headaches and their attention spans are also getting negatively impacted.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention claimed that when they looked back at the emergency room, they found the proportion of girls visiting the room had tripled throughout the pandemic. The reason they discovered this was that a lot of girls were watching the same type of TikTok videos for hours.

What Is Tik-Tok Brain?

The term ‘Tik-Tok Brain' refers to the negative aspects associated with a social media platform. This includes increased anxiety, depression, and shorter attention spans. Students spending too much time on this platform are becoming addicted which is giving rise to several physical and mental health issues.

TikTok is addictive

This platform has made short videos extremely popular and the optimal length of a video is 21-34 seconds. Owing to this, learners these days are struggling to focus on a wide range of activities that require longer time. Reading books, completing homework paying attention to a class, or even watching a full-length movie is getting tricky for them.

Is Tik Tok Bad For Your Brain?

TikTok uses an algorithm that shows content related to what users have previously watched. This algorithm can detect interests, hobbies, fashion styles, music tastes, sexual orientation, sense of humor, etc. This customized viewing experience sounds harmless but it tends to push users down a rabbit hole that reinforces negative behaviors and thoughts.

Tik Tok Bad For Your Brain

Every time users watch Tik Tok videos dopamine is released in their system which mimics the effects of drugs. Young people are more prone to this addiction as their brain is not completely developed until they reach 25-30 years. As per studies students who watch these videos have highly activated brain cells involved in addiction and some users also find it challenging to continue their viewing habits.

How Is Tik-Tok Affecting Mental Health?

 7 in 10 American Teens Use TikTok

Here are some of the many ways by which Tik-Tok can affect the mental health of youngsters:

  1. Increased Stress, Depression, And Anxiety

    Studies reveal that students who use Tik Tok regularly develop addictive tendencies and have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and stress as compared to people who used the app less frequently.
  2. Encourages Eating Disorders

    Users often get influenced by content that normalizes eating disorders like Bulimia nervosa and Anorexia nervosa. Videos related to “What I Eat In A Day” often encourages an unhealthy relationship with food and portrays eating disorder as a lifestyle choice.
  3. Promotes Risk Of Suicide

    Research shows that teenage girls who use social media for at least two to three hours daily and increased their usage over time were at a higher risk of committing suicide as adults. However, boys on the other hand displayed no suicidal tendency or risk.
  4. Range Of Negative Impacts

    Apart from addiction, severe usage of the app leads to several negative effects like disrupted sleep, poor school performance, neglected hygiene, social isolation, and family conflict.

Ways To Reset Tik Tok Brain

If constantly scrolling through Tik Tok becomes a problem and you want to reduce your student’s reliance on it, here are five ways to reset a TikTok brain.

average human attention span
  1. Customize The App

    As a teacher, there is not much that you can do in class. But what you can do is have a session with the parents and convey the serious issues their child is having in school due to the overuse of Tik Tok. Ask the parents to customize the app by setting up family pairing.

    This allows the parents to customize the app for their teens to generate a healthy experience. Ask the parents to set screen time and use restricted mode to limit the child’s access to inappropriate content.

  2. Use The Screen Time Dashboard

    This is also something that parents should be aware of. However, parents might not be super tech-savvy and several things might go unnoticed by them. Thus, you as educators must ask them to set a screen time dashboard for their kids to reduce and manage their video consumption.

    This dashboard shows the number of hours spent by the kids on Tik Tok. It also gives a breakdown of daytime and nighttime usage and the number of times they have opened the app on a particular day.

  3. Restrict Desktop Or Laptop Access

    Ask parents to restrict access to the app on laptops and desktops. If all the above measures do not provide guaranteed results then create a fail-safe by limiting their access. If they cannot access the app anywhere and everywhere, they will be more mindful of the time they spend scrolling.
  4. Have Tik-Tok Free Zones

    Since students will be less prone to using Tik Tok in schools, you can create Tik Tok free zones. Create spaces where and set ground rules where and when can they not use the app, like during recess, library, or within the school premises.

    Instead, create activities that will keep them engaged and reverse the damages that have been done by the app. Doing this will allow them to realize that there is a life outside the app and that they can spend their time in a much better and more productive manner.

  5. Suggest Screen-Free Activities

    Your students have a lot of screen time at home and hence it is better if you keep your lessons screen-free. In the era of smart boards and technologies, this might be hard to try to engage them keeping their hobbies and interest in mind.

    Create activities related to sports or communicate with friends or even show their creative side through arts and music. These tasks will reset the students' brains and they will also learn to look for inspiration elsewhere other than the app.

It’s Time To Rid Social Media Problems

If you find any of your students are showing negative behaviors in class, it is probably due to the overuse of Tik Tok. Talk to the parents to find out the root cause and take measures to boost the mental health and well-being of the learners. If you are not sure how to do this in an online setting, consider pursuing Online Special Education Courses to help them have a healthier relationship with technology.

Written By: Bindita Sinha      

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