Tiktok having an effect on youth mental health


Social media has been widely used for years and certain platforms have become dominant sources of information, especially for people under 18. However some of the information being spread about sensitive topics like mental health have have come under criticism due to recent studies concerning how exposure to this content can affect the minds of young people

Tiktok is a social media platform that is widely used as a source of information, especially for younger people. This has led the platform to become a resource for young people who have concerns about their mental health.

This change from in-person consultation to seeking help online was mainly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which led to mental health care becoming remote, often being in the form of either teletherapy or apps that would monitor one’s mental health.

As a result, TikTok became a resource for youth who were struggling with their mental health. Therapists and psychologists became Content Creators who provided their knowledge in the field to struggling youth.

Some however believe that tik tok has added to this issue rather than quelling it.

Experts believe that because of TikTok’s algorithm, sensitive and harmful content may be being pushed to teens and exposing them to topics like eating disorders and self harm.

In a study done by The Center for Countering Digital Hate, TikTok’s algorithm pushes harmful content promoting eating disorders and self-harm to teens every 39 seconds.

In the same study, it was found that teen accounts on the platform were exposed to 12 times as many self-harm videos as accounts that were made by adults. Also it was found that pro-eating disorder content is evading moderation by using coded hashtags.

Because of this, there have been calls for the platform to regulate content about mental health. Tiktok has stated that the platform uses “a combination of technology and thousands of safety professionals” to identify and remove videos that violate its policies; however these guidelines and polices are hard to enforce given that the platform’s algorithm can’t be controlled and is done by random.

Tiktok has been shown to be an important tool for spreading awareness and information about mental health but its power to easily spread information can be harmful for those who may be vulnerable to sensitive content. The way this content is spread can be controlled and exposing young and impressionable minds to harmful content has lead to youth being far more vulnerable to developing mental health issues later n life.