TikTok has taken the world by storm and become one of the most popular new apps. Teens and tweens especially love using this new social media app to watch videos, make videos, and connect with their friends.
If you are concerned that your teen is developing a social media addiction, contact us to find out more about treatment options for all types of addiction.
What makes TikTok so appealing to teens?
Though it follows a similar format to other social media apps, TikTok is uniquely appealing to youth.
As soon as you log into the app, it gives you suggestions for popular videos to watch. So you don’t need to already have friends who use the app to start making connections. For kids using TikTok as their first social media experience, this makes it easy to get started.
Like other popular social media apps, TikTok collects your viewing data to make recommendations. Once you start clicking on videos, the app’s algorithm sorts through all of the content on the site to make recommendations for more videos you might like. You may have experienced this already if you’ve ever clicked through Youtube videos and gotten suggestions for the next video to watch.
This system presents teens with an endless stream of videos curated to their taste. So they’ll never run out of fun things to watch to keep them entertained. The format of the videos is also attractive to a young audience. Most of the videos are under a minute in length, so they’re perfect for a kid with a short attention span.
They’re quick, they’re catchy, and they’re trendy.
Much like teens in the 80s and 90s used to watch MTV music videos to learn the popular dances, today’s kids watch TikTok videos. If they’re going to stay up to date with the latest dances and funny videos, they have to spend a lot of time on TikTok. If they haven’t seen the videos and haven’t learned the moves, they won’t know all the latest trends when talking to friends at school.
TikTok also makes it easy to record and upload your own videos. So teens get the chance to record themselves doing the latest dance or the latest video craze, and they can upload it for their friends to see. Or they can get a group of friends together and record the whole group dancing.
All in all, TikTok is both an entertainment tool and a social-connection tool.
How to know if your teen is too into TikTok
Since kids seem to be glued to their smartphones these days, it can be tough to tell when they’re spending too much time on any app. However, there are a few signs to look out for regarding your teen’s social media use.
Does it interfere with “real life”?
Your teen might see that TikTok is part of real-life since it’s how they communicate with their friends and stay updated with the latest trends. However, a social media app should not take precedence over actual “real life.” Look for things like:
Grades dropping because they’re spending time on their phone rather than homework
Refusing to spend time with the family without their phone
Disregarding their chores at home because they’re on their phone
Dropping out of activities that they used to like so they can spend more time on their phone
Do their conversations center around TikTok?
TikTok is pretty popular, so you can expect it to come up in conversation sometimes. However, it shouldn’t be the only thing your teen talks about. If most of your teen’s conversations revolve around TikTok, they’re probably focusing on it too much.
How much time do they actually spend on the app every day?
You can download an app tracker for your kid’s phone that lets you know how much time they’re spending on different apps every day. This will help you get an authentic glimpse into how much time they’re devoting to TikTok.
Many trackers can also show you what time of day the app is being used. So you can tell if your teen is missing out on sleep by being on TikTok or if they’re using the app while they should be in class. If they are using the app when they should be doing other things, they are probably too focused on the app.
How to reduce your teen’s TikTok use
If your teen is spending too much time on TikTok, there are a few things you can do to help them reduce that time.
Have a conversation with them about it. Let them know why you are concerned about their app usage. They might not even realize how much time they’re spending on TikTok or that their behavior could be affecting anyone else.
Set boundaries. If your teen is shirking responsibilities because they’re spending so much time on their phone, set some boundaries around phone usage. Limit the amount of time they’re allowed to have their phone until their responsibilities are done.
Seek help. If your teen is so tied to their phone that you are worried about their mental health, seek outside help. Some teens get so wrapped up in TikTok or other apps that they derive their self-worth from the app. Everything centers around getting enough “likes” and “views,” and nothing else matters to them. This can lead to depression and anxiety in teens that presents itself as a social media addiction.
If your teen son is experiencing mental health problems related to spending too much time on TikTok, he may benefit from attending a boarding school for troubled boys. The students at Sundance Canyon Academy learn to separate their identity from social media and learn to interact with others in the real world.
Contact us today for more information about our program.