Even though TikTok is without a doubt one of the most popular social media platforms today, a lot of parents and people are also worrying about possible negative mental health effects of the application. For example, some believe that TikTok is the new Instagram and that the app can cause self-esteem issues and make its users insecure. This can be especially worrying because a lot of children and teens use the application, and problems with insecurity caused by social media have been thoroughly studied by researchers before.
Does Tiktok Cause Insecurity? Here’s What Experts And Users Have To Say
We’ve asked a number of experts for their opinions about TikTok, and how the app can make its users insecure. A number of (former) TikTokkers have also chimed in and wanted to share their personal experiences regarding this topic.
Not everybody agrees – there are some people who claim the opposite or say that TikTok doesn’t tend to make people insecure, but it’s important to look at a number of different experiences because your mileage may vary.
It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap
It can be easy to fall into the comparison trap when you’re viewing content on any social media platform. You think that the person creating the content on these platforms has their life completely together and is clearly doing much better than you are. We fail to remember, however, that the videos we see are likely the result of hundreds of takes, thousands of videos that didn’t make it to posting, and heavy editing to make them appear even more perfect than they are. Social media can be problematic for adults, but it can be especially detrimental to younger kids, who are still searching for their own sense of identity. Do your kids a favor and limit the amount of time they spend on these social media platforms.
– James Green of Cardboardcutouts
Aesthetic filters can be a problem
TikTok certainly has the ability to make people feel insecure, especially younger users. Many content creators use filters to achieve a perfect
look. The average person can’t compete with that type of airbrushed aesthetic, which creates insecurity. I really commend the creators who
choose not to use these types of filters, and who expose this tendency and try to raise awareness about how unrealistic some TikTok content is,
– Daivat Dholakia, VP of Operations, Essenvia
TikTok can inspire you but can cause insecurity as well
*Does Tiktok personally make me insecure? No*
I would say it inspires me. There are other social media platforms that make me insecure, the biggest contributor of those being Instagram.
Tiktok inspires me because there’s less pressure about how you show up to the platform. People of all different backgrounds, ethnicities, sizes and various differences show up on that platform and share real experiences that people relate to.
Earlier today, I saw a post about a woman making fun of herself at the OBGYN. That would never happen on Instagram. Instagram is too polished, put together, and carefully curated. I’ll admit to feeling inferior on Instagram sometimes but haven’t felt that way on Tiktok yet.
*Do I think Tiktok can make people insecure? Yes. *
As with any social media platform, the comparison takes place and is natural to feel. People sharing their daily vlogs, days in their lives, and their cushy tech jobs, can all make someone feel like they’re behind in life. I know I’ve walked away from a day of scrolling on Tiktok feeling like I’m so behind in life and have a lot of catching up to do. I think there are two factors that play into that.
For one, the average video on TikTok is not going to be longer than a minute. Usually, they’re closer to 30 seconds or so with a trendy song playing in the background. That means with only 20 minutes of scrolling, you are exposed to anywhere from 20 to 40 different people’s lives, stories, struggles, and wins. That is not natural and our brains haven’t evolved to the stage of being able to handle that much exposure coming at you that quickly. I like to look at it like speed dating. If you’re only chatting with each person for 30 seconds or so, you’re bound to burn out and get overwhelmed much faster. We basically do that all day long on social media such as TikTok.
The other factor is that Tiktok’s for you page is highly curated for you. TikTok’s algorithm is next level, and they show you exactly what is relevant to you. So you end up seeing people with the things you’re interested in, living lives that are like yours but maybe slightly better or elevated or pursuing your hobbies, passions, and dream career. There is no other algorithm that is as highly curated and specific for you as TikTok’s is. That can leave someone feeling insecure because it feels like they’re so close to the life they want…but then here’s the other person who just has it slightly better than them.
To wrap up, I will say although I don’t think Tiktok makes me feel insecure, it leaves me wanting more for myself and in my life. To some, that may be an inspiration, and to others, that may come off as insecurity. I’ll let the readers be the judge of that.
– Emel Khan (@adventureswithemel on TikTok)
Popular videos are unrealistic and the algorithm is addictive
Talking out of my experience with the platform, most of the content the algorithm recommends to me are high-quality videos filmed in amazing locations, showing the perfect lifestyles of good-looking people. Whether it is a girl showing her morning workout routine in her cute NYC apartment, a travel vlog from the Maldives, or a tasty-looking recipe with super cool transitions, almost all videos show a lifestyle you are striving to but still haven’t achieved (or you never will). Trending dances and challenges are performed by top-looking creators, which results in unrealistic body and beauty standards.
The greatness of TikTok (and all social media really) is precisely in that. It makes you addicted to getting more and more insights from the lifestyle you visualize. It makes you uninterested in your reality and more focused on what’s going on online.
– Evelin Georgieva from Resolute Software
TikTok isn’t an ideal platform for body positivity
As a plus-size influencer on the app, I feel insecure because I know my videos can be flagged for doing the same thing as a smaller-size influencer. I want to keep pushing for inclusivity within the social media space but it’s hard when the platform doesn’t seem to always align with my mission. I think as a young woman it’s easy to compare yourself to others that pop up on the FYP and sometimes I feel insecure because I know there are certain things that I probably can’t do or show on the app without being criticized for my weight. Since TikTok is known as the raw/authentic app, it’s easier to compare yourself to someone’s life you see on TikTok because it seems real.
– Kassandra Vargas from Stay Klassay (@stayklassay on TikTok)
A diverse For You Page is important
As someone who has made her career on TikTok: I use my platform to build women up and celebrate the differences in everyone’s body as I believe that everyone deserves to feel beautiful down to their bones. However, I won’t act as though there aren’t some videos that end up making me feel insecure about the way that I look or the way that I act.
I just had my first child, and there are a lot of videos on TikTok of postpartum women showing off their perfect figures, and although I know that everyone’s body is different, it’s been tough not to compare myself and the way my body looks to them. I think that it’s really important to make sure that your FYP (for you page) is diverse and that you follow a variety of different people so that you don’t end up fixating on only one body type and are able to appreciate and see the beauty in all different kinds of bodies.
– Thalita Ferraz from Herbones.com (@hello.thalita on TikTok)
A pharmacist’s opinion
I believe TikTok can make people more secure or insecure based on how they deal with video comments. It can definitely make you more secure if you go live and become a popular host. I have been on TikTok for less than 2 years and have 94,000 followers. Going live has brought me many great friends and has increased my business sales. If you dwell on negative comments and believe what the haters say, it can definitely lead to insecurity and poor self-esteem. Young people are especially prone to this. They like to be popular and fit in. The problem with TikTok is the more popular you become, the more haters come after you. I tell my followers to look at negative comments as a positive thing as they help push videos to more people.
– Michael Brown, RPh (registered pharmacist)
It’s hard to put yourself out there
Yes, TikTok can for sure cause people to feel insecure. Whether it is their insecurities about themselves, their business, or their content, can happen which can really affect how they present themselves. There are so many negative people on the internet who feel no shame in saying something rude to someone they don’t even know. You see more of these people on platforms like TikTok because video content allows people to really see someone and what they are like in person. The insecurities people feel can stem from negative experiences they have had on social media, as well as their own personal insecurities. This makes it hard for people to put themselves out there as they become more vulnerable and at the mercy of others.
– Sean Chaudhary, CEO and digital marketing specialist at Alchemy Leads
Summary: here’s why TikTok can make you insecure
It is often said that comparison is the thief of joy, and that seems to be the case here on TikTok as well. With tons of seemingly perfect videos, flawless bodies, and beauty-improving filters, it’s easy to think all these people have it better than you. Some insecure people on TikTok even purchase fake followers to make them seem more popular.
Additionally, there are also always going to be ‘haters’ on TikTok, which can be hard to deal with for some people.
However, some people also say that TikTok can definitely have positive and inspiring influences too, although the dangers can not be understated as well.