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TikTok is taking a toll on teens’ mental health.

Feb 08 2022

TikTok is taking a toll on teens’ mental health. As TikTok use rises among teens, the platform has become a source of anxiety for some for the same reasons Instagram and other social platforms have negatively influenced self-esteem and mental health. “Sexually suggestive videos” in particular are taking a toll on young girls’ self-esteem because they tend to perform better on the platform, which is harming both the women posting the videos and the ones viewing them. As one 16-year-old TikToker explains, “I wanted to get famous on TikTok, and I learned that if you post stuff showing your body, people will start liking it,” ultimately making her feel that in order to be TikTok famous, being “sexy” is key. Mental health expert Carter Barnhart notes that a growing number of her patients report their self-esteem issues has to do with how many likes they get on TikTok: “Many of them have figured out that the formula for that is producing more sexual content.” Considering the fact that some of the most famous teen girl TikTokers rose to fame because of their dancing videos, it makes sense for young women to want to find the same success on the app. But when the platform’s algorithm favors content featuring less clothing and high energy dances, it makes sense that their mental health would start dwindling as they question their presence in the space. (WSJ)