TikTok is my kryptonite

Is TikTok a toxic time-waster or does it help bring us closer together? Listen to three high school students chat about their TikTok addiction.

15 October 2020

Year 10 students Nickie and Riana are self-confessed TikTok addicts while friend Saraa doesn’t have the app at all. Yet she still manages to keep up with the TikTok trends from posts on other social media platforms.

Listen to the three friends chat about memes, the time they spend on TikTok and how they plan to overcome their social media addiction.

Three students share their views on TikTok social media platform.

Transcript

Nickie

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the Teenaging Podcast. My name is Nickie, and I'm joined today by ...

Riana

Riana.

Nickie

And

Saraa

Saraa.

Nickie

Yeah, so in the recent episodes, one topic that keeps resurfacing is our extremely unhealthy TikTok addiction. And I feel like we just have to address it or just talk about it, because I think it's really relatable and interesting episode for us all to talk about because it just keeps appearing in every other episode. Our lives have been revolving around that app this entire time.

TikTok has been my demise. It's my kryptonite. I don't know what's so addicting about it. I keep coming back to the app, no matter how many promises I make to myself, no matter how many promises I say, "Oh, I'm going to wake up early. I'm going to do this. I'm going to do that." It just never happens.

Even before today, I was still watching TikTok for a good half an hour, or 40 minutes. It passes time so quickly as well.

There's also memes, like ... Oh, you know the Timothee Chalamander.

Saraa

Chalamet?

Nickie

The edits.

Saraa

Oh my God, all of them starts with the music.

Nickie

Yeah.

Saraa

Literally. I don't even have TikTok, and I see this re-posted on Instagram all the time. But honestly, when you find a good one, you might even ... Somebody that you follow, an actor or actress in one of those, you're like, "Yeah, I'm going to save this. This is kind of nice."

Nickie

Oh, but Saraa, it still shocks me that you don't have TikTok.

Saraa

Yeah, but as you can see, I still know what you guys are talking about. So there's no point.

Riana

That's like cheating. You can't do that. You either have the app or you just don't watch TikToks.

Saraa

Listen, I don't need it. I'm not trying to get addicted. You know what I mean? I got to have some type of self-control to finish my work. I'm already struggling with Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus, I don't need to add to that.

Nickie

But you don't get the raw material. You get the-

Saraa

Oh my God, my sister has TikTok. I can see what it's like to have TikTok. One day, I was really bored and I was like, what if I had TikTok? What would the difference be? But then I was like, no, I need to stay strong and not download it.

Nickie

Stay strong, as if you've succumbed to the TikTok hole.

Riana

Do you know many awkward situations I've been in and I just bring up TikTok and we immediately start bonding. Saraa, that could be you.

Saraa

Yeah, but I don't get into awkward situations because I'm pretty good at small talk.

Riana

Flex! Okay. Yeah, right.

Saraa

Flex on small talk? That's not really a flex, is it?

Riana

It kind of is.

Nickie

But jokes aside, I understand why you would. Yeah, it's like a really bad extreme addiction. It's cool to watch it in moderation, okay. But it's so easy to just get hooked and just keep scrolling. I remember, I was talking to my teacher, and he was like, "I once downloaded TikTok, and I got hooked for 3 hours, like straight 3 hours before deleting it." And that's how easily the app can just grab you in and make you succumb to the deep, endless ... I was going to say hole.

Saraa

Deep, endless.

Nickie

Yeah ... But, I think it's because it creates this very, I guess, close, or intimate I guess, community of people.

It's like a one stream thing. You know how Instagram, there's just so much content, and it's so niche as well.

You pick specifically what you want to follow, but for TikTok…

Saraa

It's given to you right on a platter. And there's been actually scientific experiments done about that. People, they think that they would want more options and have more variety to pick from, but if you look at peoples' brain scans when they do stuff like that, when they're just given a limited amount, or as TikTok is, it's just one stream, right? They're more satisfied because it's just given to them, they're not thinking about what they're missing out on. And I guess that's the effect of TikTok. It's all given to you, and you just keep scrolling because you know that you'll find something. It's endless.

Riana

Yeah. I also find that it's such like a good community where you know what's going on when someone brings it up. Someone could make a TikTok like, "Oh, did you guys see that new challenge?" And you're instantly like, "Yes, I know that challenge, because it's been on my for you page." And you don't feel left out or anything, because you know what's happening. Because everyone gets the same line of TikToks and challenges and trends.

Nickie

Right? It's a completely different algorithm from Instagram where you only get specific things that you follow in different accounts. And for TikTok you don't need to follow those accounts to see it. So, you can be updated on the same things like a million other people are, and they're always updated with trends, so it makes people feel like they're part of something.

As long as you keep scrolling, I guess, you'll always be updated with new trends and you ... I guess things you can jump on the bandwagon with. So, yeah, it's more like an intimate community almost.

So I can understand why people feel so addicted like us, and it solves, I guess, the quarantine boredom, and the loneliness that we develop.

Saraa

The deep void for connection.

Nickie

It's basically it.

And the other thing, it's not too big on marketing, so it's purely just creators. It's like YouTube, almost, but a lot more condensed and personal. Even though there are promotions on TikTok, I don't think there are as many as other platforms. At least, just yet.

So then you're not bombarded with just advertisements, which is, I guess, good.

Riana

And stuff TikTok promotes is not very toxic. It's not like, "Oh, flattening tees and hair vitamins." Or whatever. It's songs that are popular right now, or challenges that everyone's doing. I don't really find it toxic as much as Instagram can be sometimes.

Nickie

You know what, yeah. I know what you mean, but I don't know. For me, I feel like it is actually kind of toxic, almost. I don't know. People are so easy to, I guess, criticise other people, just by dueting them, or commenting, and people think it's cool, so they do it as well.

I'm going to sound like a parent. Yeah, I feel like it's gotten actually quite toxic because it's so easy for someone to judge others and make a TikTok about it. You know those TikTok like the call out exposé TikToks? Or even shaming our exes, or other peoples' exes. Just purely by looks. They'll post a TikTok of a pretty photo of themselves and be like, "This is what my ex missed out on." As if looks only matter in a relationship.

And that's the only core, salient element that determines how your relationship is sustained.

Even little ideas like that, that are constantly presented in ... It's toxic, and it's so easy to get on the ‘For You’ page, because it's disguised as empowerment and self-love, and like, "Oh, I'm so strong. Look at me." Stuff like that. And the thing is because it's so comedic, the app is so comedic, it's hard to have more, I guess, intellectual or analytical content. There are some, I'm not going to deny, there's a lot of variety out there, but it's mainly just comedic. So, there's no chance to, I guess, call out these people, or just actually say, "You know what, you're wrong?" Actually, I have seen a lot of TikToks like that. I'm saying it's actually kind of toxic because it's so easy for people to judge.

Saraa

I think that when it comes to that whole thing that Riana was talking about, about feeling like there's some type of community, because everybody's watching the same thing, and looking at the same jokes, and it's all one stream. And it's not as individualised as Instagram is, or Twitter, where you ... It's more of an algorithm. I think that's a special part of TikTok, and it definitely makes it more addicting because people feel like they belong to something, and they understand a lot more jokes, and they just ... I don't know how to explain it. But, I get why there's an appeal for it.

For me, at least, not having TikTok, on the other side of the scale, I still see everything, and I don't necessarily feel like there's a need for it because it's always expressed to me, and still friends always tell me about it. I think that TikTok underneath just being an app, shows people the longing of wanting to be a part of something, feeling like they're included in something. So, I guess what we can take from TikTok is, we need to talk to each other more, and actually ... We need to talk to people more instead of being so superficial.

Because the thing about Instagram is, it's all about like, look how pretty I am. And the reason that TikTok is doing so well is because it's more relatable, and people are seeing sides of other peoples' lives that they can actually relate to. Issues, problems. You have TikToks about online school. So, everybody feels like they have something to add there. And it's not really a competition to see who's the most attractive, or who's the most rich person on this platform, like Instagram is.

So, I guess what we can take away from that is, we need to talk to each other more on a level that's not so superficial but connecting.

Nickie

Yeah. I feel like one of the reasons why we're so addicted is because it fills that void of need to be connected to others. I can see that when I get so addicted, and after I stop, I feel this just wave of guilt and like, oh my God, I have wasted time. I've wasted the last 40 minutes when I could actually do something productive and connect to others in real time. So then, that shows how we're just using this as a shortcut to not only be entertained, but to feel a lot less lonely, which I think after we know that, it's a good opportunity to as Saraa said, reach out.

I know that it's really hard to fix a bad habit, especially when you've been, I guess, doing it for such a long time. But it's only little steps that you need to take. So, let's say, instead of waking up in the morning and the first thing you do is go on TikTok, or whatever, make a schedule for yourself. I feel like for me, at least, it's nice to know what I have to look forward for the day, instead of just blindly going back to TikTok. So, it's nice to know, you know what, first thing in the morning, let's say for today, we're going to record the podcast, or I'm just going to read a book, so you know there's another option for you there. That's a lot more enjoyable.

I know it's hard, but even for me, I already fixed one of my bad habits, which is watching something while eating. And I hate that, because I would take forever to eat and I would just waste my time. It doesn't work for everybody, right? I understand why people do that.

So, I think that's a good way to end it, with just, if you have a TikTok addiction ... I still can't pronounce that. Limit your time, put a timer if you have to. It doesn't mean you have to delete the app completely and erase it from your life. You just watch it in moderation.

Riana

Yeah.

Nickie

Wow, we sound like parents.

Saraa

So, that brings us to the end of our episode. We have a quick announcement. We've created a TikTok account. Whoa. Wow, the meta in that. Yeah. So we created a TikTok account, it's called The Teenaging Podcast. Give it a follow. We're going to have some great content on there. So yeah, follow that, and also remember to follow our Instagram, The Teenaging Podcast, our Twitter, The Teenaging Pod, our YouTube, The Teenaging Podcast, and if you have any questions, dramas, advice that you would like us to give, or advice you have for us, go follow our anonymous page. It's also The Teenaging Podcast. Okay. Thank you. Bye.

End of transcript.

Nickie and Riana are in Year 10 at Sarah Redfern High School and Saraa is in Year 10 at Elizabeth Macarthur High School.

This episode originally featured on their Teenaging podcast series.

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