The True Cost of Tiktok

With 800 million users worldwide according to recent studies, TikTok has quickly evolved into one of the most popular social networking apps with users, but at what cost? In this article, I will explore three reasons why this app can be doing more harm to users than good.

It Eats Away at Precious Time

It’s no surprise that in today’s fast paced world of technology that we are glued to our phones. When social media apps like TikTok trap individuals with an easily accessible interface and algorithm that learns user preferences at an impressive speed, it’s easy to see how a few minutes of swiping through videos turns into hours.

In a recent study, it was found nearly 90% of TikTok users access the app daily. Combine this with statistics gathered from which reports that the average TikTok user is on the app 52 minutes per day, and this can quickly add up. Using these numbers, if a user were to go on every day, that roughly equals 364 minutes (or 6.07 hours) wasted per week.

While the loss of time is just a small side effect that TikTok users experience, there is also a darker side to the platform as well.

It Can Expose Young Users to Dangerous and Explicit Content

7 out of 10 teens (with an average age of 15) reported using TikTok at least once a month according to data from This information can be alarming when you consider the issues the app has with users impersonating celebrities/known content creators, which encourages a prime environment for predatory behavior to flourish.

On top of this, it is worth noting how the app’s own algorithm can work against younger viewers.

When videos pop up on a user’s “ For You” page, there is a random assortment of videos that can be played until the algorithm learns each user’s likes and dislikes. During this process it can be easy for content to pop up which may have audio/visual material which could be upsetting towards younger users according to Common Sense Media’s website.

There is also another issue which easily targets this age group which is the superficial nature of both content creators and the app itself.

It Promotes Unattainable Beauty Standards

We have all seen the heavily edited images of so called “perfect” people that pop up on our social media screens with cropped waists and carefully altered features. When we live in a realty where imperfection is commonplace, how can we find a healthy balance between self-acceptance and admiration of these qualities within the unrealistic world of TikTok content creators?

According to recent studies, 64% of TikTok users have used face filters or lenses at some point in time. While there are a variety of filters both silly and serious, these tools only blur the line between the image we see in the mirror and unrealistic beauty trends.

So the next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling on your “ for you” page on TikTok, stop and think to yourself- what is the true cost? The answer may just surprise you.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store