Tik Tok and The Younger Generation
Tik Tok is the app that took social media by storm and with around 800 million active users, is one of the most popular forms of social media. If you are unfamiliar with the app, Tik Tok is a Chinese developed iOS and Android platform used for video-sharing which launched in 2016. Ultimately, it is another form of online sharing and social networking. The company's states that thier mission is to "capture and present the world's creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone," (Support.TikTok.com, 2020). Although the app may sound harmless and their mission may sound inspiring, Tik Tok has made an incredible impact on youth culture and poses the question: What effect does daily use of Tik Tok have on the attention span of under 20's?
Tik Tok was initially created for lip synching and dancing videos but is essentially used for all kinds of entertainment in the form of videos less than one minute long. However, the concept of Tik Tok is not new, and those who frequent the app are more than likely familiar with its predecessors. Apps such as Vine, which paralleled in popularity during 2013, and Musical.ly, the app that followed Vine and gained traction in 2014, were both applications with similar platforms, videos under one minute for entertainment with most of their communities being twenty and younger. Similarly, 41 percent of Tik Tok users are aged between 16 and 24. On average, users of Tik Tok are spending around 52 minutes per day on the app (Mohsin). Taking in to account that statistic and the fact that videos on the platform are under one minute long, what affect does the constant stream of rapidly changing stimulation have on its users?
There have been many claims that Tik Tok is the root cause of shortened attention spans of the youth. What is the goldfish effect? "The goldfish effect is used to describe people's short attention spans. Goldfish are said to have an attention span longer than human beings," (Importance of Data Visualization, 2020). In 2015, Microsoft conducted a study which found that adults, on average, have an attention span of eight seconds. With studies showing that grown adults already had short-term attention spans predating Tik Tok, we can rule out Tik Tok as being the cause of this. In fact, "the same study suggests we may have become over-stimulated by an increasingly digital lifestyle," (How to Handle the Goldfish Effect, 2020). However, while Tik Tok may not been the primary cause of shorter attention spans, the app, along with Vine and Musical.ly, certainly exploited this information to create their platforms.
In spite of Tik Tok not being the main cause of a shorter attention span, that's not to say that it is not having a detrimental effect on an already over stimulated mind. Concentration is an area of the brain that can be improved and exercised but apps such as Tik Tok only further exasperate the issue. The next question that presents itself is what are the issues that arise with decreasing concentration abilities. Shorter attention spans are not inherently problematic; however, they can present problematic effects such as poor work and school performance, inability or struggle with daily tasks, as well as strains on relationships. "ADHD is a common disorder usually diagnosed in childhood that often lasts into adulthood. People with ADHD often have trouble paying attention and controlling their impulses," (Short Attention Span: Signs, Causes and Ways to Pay Attention, 2020). Children and young adults with ADHD may experience poor grades and trouble focusing while adults may have issues keeping a job and have continuous relationship issues.
Tik Tok took social media by storm with around 800 million active users, making it one of the most popular forms of social media and the most downloaded app in the Apple App Store with 33 million downloads (Mohsin). Ultimately, it is another form of online sharing and social networking whose mission is to "capture and present the world's creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments, directly from the mobile phone," (Support.TikTok.com, 2020). Although the app may sound harmless and their mission may sound inspiring, Tik Tok exploits the modern issue of lowered attention spans and creates an environment to worsen concentration; however, the app can be used responsibly and both young adults and children should also focus on partaking in activities that exercise concentration.
"Support Center." TikTok, support.tiktok.com/en/privacy-safety/for-parents-default.
Dyring, Ole. "Importance of Data Visualization." TARGIT
"How to Handle the Goldfish Effect." LifeLearn Inc.
Mohsin, Maryam. "10 TikTok Statistics That You Need to Know in 2020 [Infographic]." Oberlo
Santos-Longhurst, Adrienne. "Short Attention Span: Signs, Causes & Ways to Pay Attention Better." Healthline, Healthline Media
"The Goldfish Effect: Social Media Shortens Our Attention Span." The Goldfish Effect Why Social Media Shortens Our Attention Span Comments
MY THREE AREAS OF WEAKNESS:
1. Paper needs more supporting evidence
2. Paper needs more information on the pros and cons of short attention spans
3. Paper should have more information on how Tik Tok specifically effects younger gen
(MLA formatting should be cleaned up)