Why TikTok Is Dangerous To Your Self-Esteem

Gabby Williams, Reporter

TikTok really is a different form of social media than the rest and has gained so much popularity. With its nonstop growth, though, it also leads the way into potential bullying and harassment. 

Today, on almost every other social media out there, you get to choose exactly what you see or watch. 

On YouTube, if you see an interesting video click on it, and if it’s a video you’re not as fond of, don’t click on it. The same goes for Instagram and Twitter.

Another thing that’s common with these social media apps are their feeds. Your feed is random when you first start, but once you use the app more over time, your feed turns into what you’re truly interested in. 

TikTok starts out almost the same way, but as the algorithm is formed to give people what they would most likely be interested in, not only does it still occasionally give you random videos that you might not be a fan of, but you also can’t just click and choose what video you watch. 

As you scroll on TikTok, the video you’re met with can be completely random and you never really know if you’re a fan of the content someone has posted until it’s over, and that’s the most concerning part when it comes to the toxicity of the app TikTok.

With every media platform app, there are always users who aren’t the nicest or others who think their opinions overrule others. When people see things they don’t like, some may feel obligated to share their opinions in the comments while others will shake their head and look the other way. On the other hand, TikTok can simply hand the videos you might not want to watch right into your face. 

While looking through TikTok, no matter the video, there are always a handful of mean and unnecessary comments, and depending on the type of video posted and who’s screen it ends up on, the harmful comments can even end up overtaking the positive ones. 

In his blog, Is TikTok Safe? Monitor Bullying and More, Daniel Grammar said, “Cyberbullying is a major issue on TikTok. People can create multiple accounts, using aliases to target others they don’t like. 

“Trolling is popular, too — especially through the ‘Reactions’ feature, which allows users to respond to videos with videos of their own. At its core, TikTok encourages expression through music, but sometimes people express things that are highly personal or sensitive. Kids who admit to depression are often met with dismissive and sarcastic reactions. Some are even publicly encouraged to kill themselves.”

When it comes to TikTok, there never seems to be a right answer to whatever you post. It’s only when people decide to scroll on instead of commenting when you’re truly safe from the constant negativity.

Cancel culture is a trend where an influencer does something controversial and together the internet and their fans band together to stop supporting them, usually without further explanations from the “wrongdoer” and without attempting to educate the individual. This trend has taken the world by storm recently as big influencers left and right have been on their way to being canceled.

On TikTok, though, whether you’re 10 or 20, if you have enough followers or views, you can be in the same boat as anyone else in the risk of being canceled, and it’s some of the worst I’ve ever seen. 

Regardless of the kind of post you make–your own thoughts or public ideas– there are always haters out there who won’t hesitate to ruin your life over a different opinion. If their word gets more views and more publicity than your own, then you’re already on the ship to cancel town. 

Once someone is canceled on the app, their own followers even turn on them and say how they never found you funny, anyway, or never knew why you were popular in the first place.

While everyone on the app has the same chance of being canceled, there is actually one thing that can determine how bad the backlash will be, and that’s their gender. 

One great example of these types of double standards is the controversies of Megan Guthrie and Tony Lopez. Both TikTok stars faced backlash when explicit photos of themselves were leaked onto the internet. While they both had the same thing happen to them, the way their fans and people hearing about the incidents reacted were completely different.

In the article “Who’s Canceled and Who’s Not: The Misogyny Behind Cancel Culture and TikTok ‘Kings’, it states, “In early April, [explicit photos] taken by then 17-year-old creator Megan Guthrie were publicly leaked: first on Discord, then throughout the internet. Despite the fact that these photos were released and distributed without her consent, the backlash was immediate. […] TikTok users changed their profile photos to her nudes, and her videos were flooded with verbally abusive comments. […] Any attempt on her part to defend herself or move forward has been met with disregard and disdain by many, and the comments under her videos, both those from before and after the leak, are full of people victim-blaming […]”. 

As Guthrie faced brutal and unnecessary backlash from the release, Lopez did not.

The article continues: “Rather than scathing verbal abuse, Lopez has received support from fans, with many conveying disapproval about the breach of privacy he’s experienced. Commenters expressed sympathy, saying, ‘Well I forgive him it wasn’t his fault’ or ‘You’re handling this so well.’”

Unfortunately, these kinds of situations happen very frequently on the app with the same kinds of double standards. 

Though these points portray all the harmful behavior on TikTok, clearly many people still feel it’s a great app. One point made is that TikTok is a good way for people to gain confidence. 

Many videos that people post on TikTok show off their outfits, style, and/or issues or insecurities that they deal with that should be normalized to get their points across or to build their confidence. 

While this idea of using TikTok is great on paper, in reality, there are always people who see a different meaning to things. You’re now fishing for compliments, or you ‘should’ve thought twice about posting that’. Even arguments form over if your issues or insecurities are really a thing, or are just glossed over as not as important as other insecurities that exist for other people. 

It’s just a constant cycle of there really being no right or wrong answer to the content you post.

Another positive quality of TikTok is that it creates many new trends that inspire people to branch out and try new things. 

Even though it’s great to branch out and broaden your horizons on different aspects of your life, there are tons of TikTok trends that are actually very harmful and encourage dangerous behavior challenging individuals to imbibe dangerous materials or doing seemingly harmless activities that could result in fires or other devastation. 

TikTok has made it apparent that everyone is trying these new trends–or at least, that’s what young minds believe. So if you don’t try a certain challenge,  you feel like you’re in the dark or aren’t “trendy” enough, which is a form of peer pressure.

It’s evident how toxic TikTok’s community really can be, if you still want to post public videos to the app, it’s important to remember to be mindful of what you post.

Though we should never let what people say hold us down forever, it’s important to notice that if a certain post or topic that you’ve talked about has truly gained a lot of backlashes that you’re not happy about or has gotten to the point that you’re hurt by the words, then simply delete the video and don’t post about the topic at hand again. No 15 to 60-second video of fame should hold your own mental health and safety to an accord. 

In the end, TikTok really can be addicting to all ages and fun on the surface, but with that concept in mind, it’s important to notice how you post for yourself and get different kinds of feedback on your own. TikTok can end up sometimes being much more harmful behind the scenes. 

It’s never too safe to be mindful of what you post and to be prepared for whatever side of TikTok you may just end up on.