What is TikTok?
TikTok is a popular social media app that allows users to create, watch, and share 15-second videos shot on cellphones. With its personalized feeds of quirky short videos set to music and sound effects, the app is notable for its addictive quality and high levels of engagement. Amateur and professional creators alike can add effects like filters, background music, and stickers to their videos, and can collaborate on content and create split-screen duet videos even if they're in different locations.
How Can Social Media Harm a Child?
Research has found that social medial platforms like TikTok cause harm among teenagers, who widely use the online platforms and can be easily influenced by harmful images and posts on social media. This is primarily due to “the effects of negative social comparison” on the sites, according to a recent study published in The Wall Street Journal.
“About a quarter of the teens who reported feeling ‘not good enough’ said the feeling started on social media sites," said Dr. Jean Twenge, a San Diego State University psychology professor. "Many also said the apps undermined their confidence in the strength of their friendships. For some people, it might be tempting to dismiss this as teen girls being sad. We’re looking at clinical-level depression that requires treatment. We’re talking about self-harm that lands people in the ER.”
Another study conducted by Dr. Brian Primack, Dean of the College of Education and Health Professions and Professor of Public Health at the University of Arkansas, found that young adults who used social media more “were significantly more likely to develop depression within six months."
TikTok Moderator Says Reviewing 'Disturbing" Content Gave Her Depression, PTSD
A recent class action lawsuit alleges that TikTok did not provide adequate mental health protections for its content moderators, who had to spend 12-hour days reviewing “disturbing” content and then later suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.
“While working at the direction of ByteDance and TikTok, Content Moderators—including Plaintiff Frazier—witness thousands of acts of extreme and graphic violence, including sexual assault, genocide, rape and mutilation,” the lawsuit says. “Plaintiff Frazier views videos of the genocide in Myanmar, mass shootings, children being raped and animals being mutilated.”
The Link Between TikTok and Teen Mental Health Disorders: ABC News Video
Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Address Social Media Addiction
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) recently introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing addiction to social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Meta (formerly known as Facebook).
Under the bill, the National Science Foundation and National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine would do a study into potential interventions that the platforms could use to address problems of social media addiction. The Federal Trade Commission would create rules based on the findings, and hold the platforms accountable if they do not comply, according to a press release issued by Klobuchar's office.
"For too long, tech companies have said 'Trust us, we've got this,' " Klobuchar said in the press release. "But we know that social media platforms have repeatedly put profits over people, with algorithms pushing dangerous content that hooks users and spreads misinformation. This bill will help address these practices."
Does TikTok Know About Its Harmful Effects?
The harm caused by social media platforms like TikTok might seem like a new issue; however, internal documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal show that the parent companies of these platforms have known for years about the mental health problems caused by their products.
As early as 2019, internal documents from Instagram and Facebook reveal a corporate culture focused on exploiting teenagers for financial gain, even though its social media platforms cause extensive mental health issues, especially among teenage girls.
“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” read an internal slide presentation obtained by The Wall Street Journal. “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression. This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.”
“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” researchers wrote in a March 2020 presentation at Facebook. “Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves.”
What is Being Done to Address the Social Media Problem?
The only minor change Facebook has recently made is temporarily halting plans to develop an Instagram app that targets children under 13 years old, according to The New York Times . Otherwise, little has been done to address the harmful effects of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram on teenagers.
Instead, the companies continue to publicly deny that their products cause any harm, despite their own internal research which confirms the negative effects of its products. TikTok seems more focused on expanding the number of teenagers who use its products and increasing the company’s profits, which generates more than $2 billion per year in annual revenues.
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Legal Help is Available
Growing evidence illustrates the real harm caused by the negative influence of online social media platforms like TikTok. However, taking on these giant corporations alone can be daunting. TikTok has an entire team of attorneys working for them to address any legal challenges they may face due to the harm caused by its products. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side, making your legal case clear and compelling.
Get a Free TikTok Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Personal Injury & Accidents Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in TikTok Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Again, if TikTok harmed you, or if your child used TikTok and then committed suicide, developed an eating disorder, or attempted to commit suicide, was hospitalized for emergency psychiatric care due to a TikTok addiction or bullying, you should contact our law firm immediately.
You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a lawsuit, and our lawyers can help you receive fair compensation.