TikTok: A distraction or a resource?


Tik Tok is distracting young students from their education.

Ben Beetham

   Possibly the biggest social media app used by the youth. TikTok. Around 150 million people in the United States use TikTok.  The widely known app seems pretty innocent. But as of recently, the app has been accused of threatening national security and user privacy.

   While the content itself on the app isn’t exactly threatening, lawmakers believe it poses a serious threat to citizens, such as browsing history,using location, analyzing faces,voices , and other physical characteristics. 

   In 2022, TikTok admitted that some employees had spied on reporters who leaked information by tracking their locations. The employees have since been fired, but the incident did not help TikTok’s defense at all. However, Congress has not been able to find charges that could easily be accused against big US tech giants.

   Multiple countries have already put restrictions on the app. France, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom have banned the app on government employees’ phones because of security concerns. India, a country that widely used TikTok, imposed a nationwide ban on the app. The United States gave government agencies 30 days to delete TikTok from federal devices. More than half of the states have banned the app from official devices, as well as Congress and the armed forces.

   Recently, Montana became the first state to pass legislation banning TikTok on personal devices. If this bill is signed into law by their governor, the ban could take effect by January. Additionally, TikTok was just recently banned from school-owned devices on Florida college campuses by state lawmakers. 

   With all these bans starting to take place, what kind of effect would that have on students at West Ottawa? TikTok is an extremely addictive app and most students are probably aware it can get in the way of students’ educational performances, as well as their relationships, and extracurricular hobbies. The short videos TikTok provides based on what users, and the users friends previously watched make you never want to stop. Students may have their Chromebooks open, and notebooks out, but as long as their phone is next to them it will be extremely difficult to stay focused on your work. 

   The benefits of a ban on TikTok could possibly be worthwhile. Just behind Youtube, TikTok is the most used app in Gen Z. About half of Gen Z said it’s their most addictive app. The constant flow of videos personalized just for the user creates an emotional impact and provides the flow of dopamine, which makes it even harder to stop scrolling.

   So with the banning of TikTok, which is likely the most used app in our school, the students would immediately be benefited. Attention spans have also been seen to decrease attention span, which already would negatively affect students. The constant bright lights, and catchy sounds, make it easy to keep scrolling. 

   “I would feel as if there is less of a distraction for me and I will be able to get my work done instead of having the urge to watch TikTok and procrastinate,” Soph. Andersen Strait said.

   However, some students may not find it as distracting. Some students could even find is as a useful tool for quick answers to questions they have. Some students use it whenever they need a brain break or want to watch some entertaining videos for a bit. There could possibly be another app that comes up that’s just like TikTok. Or maybe they even do a great job staying on task.

   “I think Tiktok being banned would actually hurt me in the long term. TikTok helps me find useful devices that help me in school. Sometimes TikTok makes it hard to concentrate, but it doesn’t hinder my performance in school,” Jr. Jayden Meade said.

   “If TikTok was banned it would not affect me as a student. I only use TikTok during my free time if I’m done with all my work or to have a laugh. School for me would stay the same,” Soph. Orion Bumstead said.

   Students find benefits and disadvantages with the app, but no matter what the engaging apps’ fate is coming soon. Some students will be disappointed by the banning because they believed it benefited them. Other students who are personally affected by the addictive app negatively will be significantly benefited by the ban.