TikTok turns toxic: App drives waves of insecurity among teens

TikTok turns toxic: App drives waves of insecurity among teens

TikTok — a social media that has gone viral over the past couple of years. Ranging from infants to the elderly, TikTok has space for everyone to post and share video content anyone in the world can see. While this comes with laughs and giggles, there has also recently been a darker side of TikTok arising.

I’ve had TikTok for as long as I can remember — even when it was previously named ‘musical.ly’. Usually on my feed I see cute puppy videos, funny content or cute dance videos that I really want to recreate and try. But for about the past month, I’ve been seeing the newest “How to Get Abs” workouts, people trying Chloe Ting’s fitness program (a popular fitness Youtuber), ‘What I Eat in a Day’s and models dancing in bikinis.

I never really noticed it starting to bother me until I felt like I had to go on a two mile run everyday and start going into a caloric deficit to lose weight.

I like to workout, actually love to workout. But usually, my only motivations to get fit is to do better in the sports I play, not to be “skinny enough” to look good in a bikini like the girls I see on the app. Unsurprisingly enough, I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Whenever I go to a comment section of TikTok’s that involve girls with a six-pack, they always say things like “Guess I’m not eating anymore,” or “I thought I was skinny but not anymore.” Whenever I go to a comment section of a girl without one it’s always things like “I wish I had your confidence,” or “You’re so brave for this.” The problem with these comments is that they are backhanded compliments, and are likely to be putting down a vast majority of people with body insecurities and even the person who posted the video in the first place.

Another thing I see is people shaming each other for the ways their bodies look. Basically, no matter how you look you get slammed by people judging your looks on the app. When a “skinny” girl posts a video, she’s too skinny, when a “fat” girl posts a video, she’s not skinny enough.

And the workout videos and models posting what they eat every day is more frustrating. People are saying how you can get toned in two weeks by doing a 15-minute program every day, which isn’t true. And the model that eats 900 calories a day isn’t applicable to everyone since everybody’s bodies are different, yet they post them suggesting to thousands of people that they can lose weight if they simply follow their diet.

TikTok has turned from a media platform I couldn’t stop watching to a platform I can barely stand to look at anymore. Being bombarded with such a toxic environment has mentally exhausted me and filled me with insecurity. Users are allowing for a giant group of people to be overwhelmed with insecurity and potentially put themselves into danger, and the owners of TikTok are just as responsible for doing nothing to prevent it.

Nobody should feel insecure from a video app that should be used to post funny content or mess around with your friends. Every body type is beautiful, everybody deserves to be comfortable in their own skin, and body positivity is something so important for everybody to learn.

Users of TikTok, what will you do to advocate for body positivity?