Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Opinion | I deleted TikTok for a year, here’s what happened

CW / Autumn Williams

A year ago, I deleted TikTok. 

A whole entire year.

My TikTok sobriety was not something I thought would be super impactful, other than the fact that it saves me data, but I found an appreciation for the time I would have spent on the mind-numbing app that I am now using for other things.

This article is the type of thing my mom would probably send me and I would politely ignore. I beg you, though, to hear me out. I was in your shoes. I am not trying to sound like a Karen in any way, but the fact is that anything in excess is unhealthy, and given that the average TikTok user spends a little over a day per month scrolling on the app, TikTok is certainly no exception.

Don’t get me wrong, TikTok has created jobs for tons of people and serves as a platform for important issues. However, comparably speaking, I could argue that our society needs more impactful jobs than dancing in front of a camera to a sped-up song. As Kourtney Kardashian once said, “Kim, there’s people that are dying.” I’m not trying to sound grim or like a performative advocate, but these are irrefutable facts.

TikTok can be a great resource if you get on the right side of it, but I worry how harmful it could be if the app becomes a primary source to turn to for information. Additionally, like all user-based platforms, there is also potential for violent and exploitative content.

I am not condemning the use of social media or this platform, nor am I supporting the narrative that TikTok is evil for political reasons. But stepping back and looking at the situation objectively, it seems to be more restrictive than liberating.

It’s no secret that TikTok can have negative impacts on users’ mental health, that can lead to a poor perception of self-worth. Comparison is the thief of joy, not to mention that the release of dopamine with each scroll makes consumers keep returning and watching more.

TikTok has recently begun to run explicit ads within the app. After already having creators post sponsored content, big companies were able to reap the rewards of impressionable young minds being told by their favorite TikToker that a product is the best on the market. Marketing adds another layer of complexity to a space meant for creators, many of whom capitalize on their own success.

When an audio is trending, a ton of people post videos with it. But for the original source of the sound, this can diminish their claim of originality or misconstrue people’s understanding of the context. If someone were to make a video and a famous person were to copy it and reap the benefits, is that fair? Don’t even get me started on how frustrating it is to watch a movie or TV show and figure out “THAT’S WHERE THAT AUDIO CAME FROM!”

Granted, it is frustrating at times to be out of the loop on certain jokes, and I have certainly caught myself trying to lean on other forms of social media to fill the void. Still, I don’t feel like I’m losing anything by abstaining.

If anything, I’ve gained a lot. I’m able to use the time I would’ve spent scrolling for self-care, something TikTokers claim is very important. I’ve been able to carve out time for productivity and leisure, on top of improving my academic performance and sleep schedule. My physical health has improved from deleting an app. That is crazy to me.

Being intentional about how I spend my time has helped me grow richer in meaningful friendships, independent thinking and even my spirituality. 

At the end of the day, I’m just a writer at The Crimson White. I’m not going to tell you what to do or not do with your life, because you are your own person, but what I can tell you is that this one-year milestone feels like one of my greatest accomplishments.

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