The importance of being vigilant | Sunday Observer

The importance of being vigilant

16 January, 2022

TikTok has enormously invaded the boundaries of the people’s mindset and consequently, the dilemma that it has brought out notably on the young folk is unprecedented.

Very recently, two young children of Madampitiya and Karuwalagaswewa became the victims of TikTok: one was stabbed to death while the other committed suicide. According to a Paw Research Poll, a survey of teens has found out that 70% of children make sure that they hide their online behaviour from their parents.

Meanwhile, there arises a question where it is asked “Can social media be considered as one of the causes for the drastic increase of teen depression over the last decade?” A series of surveys, conducted with a selected group of US adolescents have been able to find out that teen depressive symptoms and the rates of suicides have demonstrated remarkable increases between the years 2010 and 2015.

In this context, it is further reported that the young females have been the most vulnerable. The researchers involved in the above study comment that the increase in social media and overall screen use between those two years could contribute towards these changes. Experts say that the frequency of a teen’s use of social media has got a very clear correlation to their mental health: moreover, the suicidal feelings and eventually committing a suicide among teens can be much higher among the teens addicted to social media, compared with their counterparts who do not remain online for extended hours.

For instance, a study, conducted in 2018 among the 14 to 17 year old teens who had been on social media more than seven hours per day were more than twice as likely to have been diagnosed with depression eventually leading to suicide.

These teens also had to be treated by a mental health professional or else they were suggested to take medication for a psychological or behavioural issue during the year, considered. The other most significant finding is the fact that these results were derived while being compared with those who used screens only about an hour a day.

A lot of experts are of the belief that the constant overstimulation of social networking shifts the nervous system into fight or flight mode. This situation consequently leads to disorders such as, teen anxiety, teen depression, oppositional defiant disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

These unfortunate incidents, happening due to the predominant use of social media platforms such as TikTok by the young people give rise to major catastrophes that would befall on the younger generation, due to the ever growing popularity and usage of social media applications. TikTok videos go viral were predominantly the young people including the school goers find that overnight they get addicted to TikTok.


The untrained and unguided young mind is highly vulnerable and due to addiction, it is reported that sometimes, the young people fall prey to these immensely popular social media applications. As per the latest findings, it is not only the young people themselves but also the people of any age category may get addicted to TikTok, due to its ability of having a ubiquitous influence.

As noted by Brandastic, a marketing agency in California,since its emergence in August, 2018, TikTok has been able to become one of the most popular social media platforms to date with around 1.1 billion users worldwide and it shows how rapidly it has crept into the lives of the people across the globe.

A highly noted challenge of TikTok is the fact that its certain content promotes self-hate and insecurity to its impressionable young users. In that light, its potential of creating the suicidal feelings, for instance at a time of a failure of a romantic relationship, developed notably on TikTok while creating an enormous degree of hatred on oneself and the contributory parties is a serious negative consequence that devalues its positive aspects such as making a young and upcoming artist to find a wider community of people where they are decorated with an overnight popularity.

With the global pandemic, the schools were forced to go for a temporary closure. The lessons were taught virtually where even the parents who could not afford the digital infrastructure were forced to facilitate their children even with at least a smartphone. This development gave rise to the possession of smart phones by school-going young children, making them much more vulnerable to fall prey to some significant disadvantages of the social media platforms.

The possession of sophisticated smartphones by the young students makes them highly vulnerable to multiple challenges, brought out by TikTok which is popular among young children. The challenges such as the stargazing trend involve people lying on their bed while looking up at their ceiling where they tend to show off their jawline and the perfect facial profile.

This is one of the many challenges that eventually may lead to people trying to compare themselves with the popular users which may create insecurities about which they did not know that they had before. Meanwhile, TikTok’s addiction to young children is overwhelming.

As the video on TikTok frequently give off a false sense of reality, the uninformed young people are misled with wrong assumptions. It is clear that the perceived reality that is hidden away from these videos is fine-tuned, glamorized and touched up. If you compare your day today life with the glamourized highlight reel of someone else, it is very likely that you find yourself trying to compare with someone.

Mind bogglin

Only a very few people share the mundane, day today things on social media. Therefore, it is of significance particularly with young people to keep this particular discrepancy in mind as TikTok videos are concerned.

If you randomly speak to some people who use social media, you may understand that the degree of hurtful, hateful, malicious comments that they have experienced on TikTok is mind boggling. You may also have heard that hatred can be relatively higher on TikTok than any other app. Cyber bullying is one of the biggest negative consequences of TikTok.

Cyber bullying as noted by researchers can be utterly damaging to the mental health of its victims: young people can be the highest affected. The other effects of cyber bullying are anxiety, depression, hatred, anger, self-isolation and extreme stress that may even provoke the affected party either to inflict harm on self or someone: the killings and suicides.

The young people get stranded in the so-called ‘Cancel Culture’ which TikTok breeds. As a whole, it could also be argued that this specific cancel culture is a rude price to pay for the wrongful actions and mistakes that someone does. If you closely monitor, you may understand that TikTok is apparently a platform where the cancel culture is rather predominant. For instance, as someone publicly makes a mistake, you find that TikTok is sooner than later there to cancel them. TikTok may even divide some people, for instance two groups of young people, upholding different thoughts on a specific idea: TikTok tends to divide people into conflicting groups on the related issue.

Also, you may find some people forming cliques based on some hot topics of disagreement. This type of a distinction may only further the hatred, anger and divisiveness in the society. Meanwhile, if you directly focus your attention on young people’s involvement with TikTok, you may see that it spreads misinformation as it is also done by all social media platforms. Most importantly, young people who use social media, including TikTok should be aware that the information put on is always not credible. It is after all true enough that information, published on a platform which allows almost anyone to produce and publish content is not 100% factual.

TikTok contains inappropriate content and that is another serious negative impact of TikTok, notably for the younger users. According to recent reports, it is estimated that approximately 32.5% of the TikTok users are between the ages of 10 and 19 where the content contained by TikTok may not be appropriate for the young people of the above age category. A lot of researchers including the educationalists and psychologists have been having a lot discussion on the effects of social media on the young people. In general, it is quite clear that social media has got both upsides and downsides.

But in the meantime, it is also understood that the pros and cons associated with the social media effects on teens are notably significant. The researchers declare that the impact of social media on young people can be detrimental to mental health. As per the experts on children’s mental health, this particular development has already made some devastating consequences on the lives of young people.

Social media and the depression of teen are closely linked with each other and there has been news of young people, eventually committing suicide due to their heavy and addictive stance on social media platforms. Albeit, the parents are required to have an observation of their children’s use of social media, it is reported that a considerable number of parents either have no concern on it or fail in their attempt of doing so.