TikTok Fame or Shame?


Popular social media apps amongst teens and young adults.

Mya Cuevas & Emma Lombara, Journalists

Recently, a new social media app coined TikTok has garnered around 800 million users internationally (Wallaroo). These users are mostly teens and young adults, many with the goal of becoming “TikTok famous.” This app has had such a tremendous impact on its users, creating a somewhat social ladder, where there is an obsession to grow overnight fame via viral videos. A number of students at Ipswich have felt the effects of TikTok and how much time is spent on the app daily. 

Some schools use the app’s popularity to their advantage; teachers recognize how invested kids are in the social media app, and have experimented using it for educational purposes. For example, a school in Florida has allowed kids to create a TikTok club, with one teacher claiming that “He likes the app because it brings different groups of students together” (District Administration). 

Teachers also encourage students to use the social media platform to express their views on current social issues, such as the recent forest fires in Australia. Many teens living in Australia posted real-life images and videos of the tragedy, and shared personal ideas on how viewers may help. TikTok has given these teens a voice and the ability to publicize the issues with direct connections. 

Lilly O’Connor, a student at IHS and an avid user of TikTok, gave input on the generous, yet addicting app. Specifically, she stated that “It is a great way to connect with people all around the world. In addition, I think social media has been a vital tool for youth that are becoming more involved in social movements and politics.” However, TikTok has proven to take over the actual lives of teens who find themselves spending hours a day on the app, such as Lilly herself. In fact, she catches herself being “less motivated and more lazy to partake in extracurriculars.” 

I, Emma Lombara, devoted influencer, would also like to weigh in on the matter at hand. I find myself struggling to pay attention to school-work because I am so acclimated to watching the 15-60 second videos. Because of TikTok, I find myself taking breaks frequently during homework sessions. 

Sadly, after checking her screen-time usage on her iPhone 11, Emma found that on average she spent 35 hours and 49 minutes on TikTok within 10 days. If curious, go to settings on your iphone and go to “battery.” Once there, you can check how much time you have spent on each app. Be prepared for a possible surprise! Most people are shocked to learn how much time is wasted on social media each week.

Mr. Mitchell, Principal of Ipswich High School, discussed his point of view on TikTok and other social media, as well. Not only is he worried about the app stealing time from students’ school work, but finds it more concerning that “teens have another way to feel like they have to boost their self esteem through views and likes of their social media posts rather than more intrinsic ways to build a feeling of self worth.”

However, Principal Mitchell does mention the positives that social media has to offer. He forms a valid point that “anyone with a smartphone can be a ‘journalist.’” This idea that people can create freely through a variety of apps has undoubtedly opened doors for the average person.

At the end of the day, social media has played both a positive and negative role in today’s society. Social media has brought the world together and torn it apart. How much time spent staring blankly at social media apps is what needs to be resolved now. Let’s all work on enjoying life through our own eyes, and not through the lens of a phone.