Why TikTok is not your safe space

Addressing some of the key concerns with Tiktok, especially its effects on young women and their safety.

This post may contain mature or challenging content.

Why TikTok is not your safe space

Tiktok is arguably the most popular social media app for today's generation, the endless content is so easily accessible at the swipe of a finger. The app is so addicting due to its algorithm which caters to every topic imaginable, before you know it you might be scrolling on the app for hours. However, the adverse effects of this endless scrolling are becoming increasingly alarming, especially for young women.

Many users often post comments praising the app for its ability to create a safe space for their innermost personal thoughts and experiences, allowing them to find comfort in experiences they once felt isolated with. Alternatively, researchers have studied the harmful effects of social media usage on young women for years and have concluded an overall negative impact on self-esteem. In 2015 a review conducted into 67 studies on this topic was published. The findings illustrated 'particularly appearance-focused social media, is associated with heightened body image and eating concerns' and 'adolescence is an important time for identity development and girls may look to the media as a source of role models'.This is evident in the rise of Tiktok trends such as 'beauty inspo' which shows endless images in one video of idealistic features characterised as 'tall, skinny and brunette'. The Tiktok will often show facetuned images of celebrities matching these features resulting in endless comments from young women depicting their desire to look that way or self-deprecating comments with humorous undertones that describe a desire to fit the unrealistic beauty standard.

Another key concern is the harmful effects of a digital footprint. Tiktok gains thousands of users daily as a result many young people seek to engage in content more than ever to go viral without thinking of the exposed digital footprint.The harmful effects of this footprint such as cyber stalking largely impact young women. Statistics from the National Stalking Helpline highlight how the majority of survivors of stalking (80.4%) are female while the majority of perpetrators (70.5%) are often male. Tiktok user @georainbolt illustrates how effectively he can locate place names just from visual clues in the background of videos using google maps. His content has gone viral for his extensive efforts and being consistently successful in locating any given place presented in a video. Ultimately, his content highlights how easily accessible users are from harmful behaviours such as stalking through their posts. 

On the other hand, many women on the platform have shared tips to protect their safety online such as never posting their holiday or hotel locations in real-time, and only posting content they have curated for followers after they have left the location. Ultimately, though the harmful effects of increased consumption of Tiktok signify how the app isn't the safest space many users engaging in the platform are spreading awareness on protection methods from online predators. The rise of the app seems unstoppable so the hope is users can find new ways to protect themselves against dangers.

Header Image Credit: Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash


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