TikTok and children.. from just an app to a machine for forming an entire generation
TikTok is available in more than 150 countries and has more than 1 billion active users. Figures indicate that the app has more than 200 billion downloads last year. The application is very popular, especially among children and adolescents, or the so-called Generation Z, who now consider it the first destination to obtain the entertainment content they see. And if we consider that this segment is the most vulnerable to exploitation, it becomes clear to us the extent of the damage that can befall them as a result of the search for fame, which has become the primary goal in the era of the attention economy or what is called the Economy of Attention.
Fame, Entertainment and Earn Money
Specialists in the field of psychology classified the needs related to the media into five categories: cognitive needs, which are related to information and knowledge, emotional needs, which are related to emotional aspects and feelings, psychological and social integration needs, which are related to self-esteem and communication with others, and finally escape needs, which reflect everything related to entertainment. and entertainment.
A study entitled “Identifying the psychological and social effects of using short video applications (Tik Tok) through the theory of uses and gratifications” concluded that the motives of content makers are fame, stardom, and making money in the first place, by publishing videos, even if they contradict customs and traditions, and that the most important Their goal is to please the public to gain admiration, even if they resort to bullying or blackmail.
This is clear, a short tour of this application will lead the browser to the huge amount of videos that teenagers shower the application with all the daily details. This application was able to attract teenagers to follow it because it relies on making videos simply and with attractive effects and suitable for an age group that is interested in everything that is new and exciting, as a study showed that the average daily use of the Tik Tok application from the point of view of adolescents is more than three hours per day, which is what placed it in the classifications addiction.
As for the motives behind teenagers following Tik Tok, the biggest motive was the search for entertainment, entertainment, and distance from boredom, followed by communicating with others and making new friends that they do not have the ability to make in the near reality, following celebrities, and finally obtaining new information.
It is noted that the motives for using the TikTok application and the gratifications achieved from it are multiple and different, but achieving fame and entertainment is one of the most important things that users of this application seek, according to the findings of many studies.
On the other hand, another study showed that the rate of exposure of adolescents to unwanted content was 48.5 percent, and the absence of parental control contributes to this, and this indicates that the TikTok application is one of the applications that facilitated the spread of unwanted content for teenagers.
Tik Tok.. Excessive imitation and social exclusion
In addition, excessive use of this application, to the point of addiction, steals the innocence and spontaneity of children and turns their lives into mere acting and singing clips. A study showed that 89.5 percent of the videos of the Tik Tok application in which children appear include scenes of songs and dances, due to the nature of the application, and 10.25 percent of the child appears as a participant with a family member in order to gain followers and comments, taking advantage of the innocence of their children to achieve financial profit. .
The behavior of children in these videos exceeds their age, and most of them are imitations of adults, dominated by exaggeration in expressing feelings such as anger and admiration, expressing fascination at seeing something, and appearing in scenes of dancing and swaying.
As for the nature of the values and behaviors that the teenager and the child acquire as a result of using this application, it is the negative impact on academic achievement, and this is due to the teenager’s preoccupation and immersion in the world of Tik Tok far from reality, and although the application revolves around social communication with the public, it leads to the noticeable withdrawal of the individual of social interaction and screen preference on it.
We also see that children and adolescents who use the application spend long hours on it and spend a lot of time and energy uselessly. We are facing the phenomenon of excessive imitation, which is exhausting the user psychologically, in addition to the fact that most of the users of the Tik Tok application are obsessed with themselves and feel stress, anxiety and depression if they fail to achieve their desire. In acceptance, or in other words, users enter a race to stand out from their peers using the app, and without achieving fame or a wide following, they may feel socially excluded. In addition, the social implications of this application include serious challenges, some of which have gained wide publicity. However, we cannot ignore the positive aspects of this application, such as e-marketing, learning and education through the application.
What parents should know about Tik Tok
Parents who are interested in the type of content that children watch should know that they may come across videos on the platform that are morally inappropriate and others that incite violence. Watching them at an early age affects not only their cognitive and mental development, but also their behavior and behavior with others, and leads to the child adopting new, different values. of social customs and values. The dream of technology pioneers to make the world more interconnected does not necessarily mean that it will be a better world. There has been a lot of controversy about digital globalization and its impact on local cultural systems in favor of imported cultures.
Also, the open messaging system concerns that allows any adult to send a message to any child, so it is necessary for parents to follow up on their children’s accounts and convert the account to a private account, this will determine who can contact and prevent the profile picture and information below from appearing to the public, and protect them from fake accounts that cover up Behind it are people whose goal is to bully and harass users through messages and comments.
It is worth noting that the application has added the “Family Safety Mode” feature, which enables parents to monitor their children’s accounts, in addition to turning on and off features remotely.