The Effects of Being Addicted to TikTok on Adolescents

Screen of a smartphone showing social media apps including Snapchat, Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

What effect does TikTok have on adolescents? (Image: Mikhail Primakov via Dreamstime)

What effects does TikTok have on adolescents? If you’re curious about the results of adolescents being addicted to TikTok, check out this article to learn more.

Social media, in general, has been ridiculed for being harmful to its users over the years. Now, TikTok is one of those apps in question, with people wondering about its exact effect on adolescents. To do this, formal research needed to be conducted. Here’s how the study went.

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Studying the effects of TikTok on adolescents

To find out the effects of TikTok on adolescents, this group needed to be studied. The study was conducted in China involving a questionnaire passed out to over 3,000 high schoolers.

To be exact, 3,036 high schoolers aged 14-17 participated in the study, which was a revised version of the Smartphone Addiction Scale. The study was conducted by swapping the word “smartphone” for “TikTok.”

The survey was used to help measure the TikTok use disorder, or TTUD, to see the different effects of the popular app. In addition, the survey results were to help measure the levels of depression, anxiety, and stress in adolescents using TikTok.

The survey found a surprising effect of being addicted to TikTok.
The survey found a surprising effect of being addicted to TikTok. (Image: via Pixabay)

Other surprising results of the survey

The survey found a surprising effect of being addicted to TikTok. The results showed that the students with higher addictive tendencies to TikTok showed reduced working memory capacity. This means they had a more challenging time remembering certain things.

As part of the test, they tried to assess the verbal working memory of the high schoolers. The high schoolers that scored higher in levels of addiction towards TikTok underperformed compared to those that weren’t addicted to the popular app.

Stress and its prevalence in adolescents addicted to TikTok

The study also tried to see the difference between males and females addicted to TikTok and the levels of stress that they experienced. It was found that females that scored higher TTUD numbers experienced higher stress levels than males. However, females lagged in other aspects compared to males when only factoring in those addicted to TikTok.

Male TikTok addicts showed higher levels of depression and anxiety

It was found that compared to females, males addicted to TikTok experienced higher levels of depression and anxiety. Although no direct explanation was given, it was shown that males showed lower working memory capacity. With that, both males and females still experienced high levels of depression and anxiety while being highly addicted to TikTok.

Unlike other video streaming platforms, one thing that made TikTok stand out was how it pushed more short-term content.
Unlike other video streaming platforms, one thing that made TikTok stand out was how it pushed more short-term content. (Image: via Pixabay)

The possible reason why adolescents addicted to TikTok showed lower memory capacity

One possible reason why those addicted to TikTok showed lower memory capacity could be how the app was designed. Unlike other video streaming platforms, one thing that made TikTok stand out was how it pushed more short-term content. Aside from that, it made it easier for users to skip the video and go on to the next one.

Because of this, users can view more videos quickly on TikTok compared to how many videos they could view on other platforms like YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook back then. In addition, more companies have adopted the swipe feature, making it more common for social media users.

The bottom line

While the study showed shocking results, it’s important to note that this was held in China, which could mean the study would have different effects in the U.S. However, the results were alarming, to say the least, with adolescents addicted to TikTok showing high-stress levels, depression, anxiety, and lower memory capacity.

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