Averaging 1 billion users, TikTok is a massive social media platform. The app offers a non-stop stream of videos curated to the user’s tastes. Tiktok offers straight-to-the-point content in the format of short videos. Users have gotten used to receiving information in this format. Because of this format, users have started to struggle with obtaining information through longer videos. The current decrease in attention span looks to be at the hands of TikTok.
Aggie Alford, junior, has used TikTok for about four years. On average, she spends 1-2 hours on TikTok a day.
“After school, I immediately go on TikTok until my volleyball practice,” Alford said.
TikTok offers her a break between school and extracurricular activities. She enjoys the stimulation it provides as it pushes out constant content, especially after a boring day at school.
“It sucks me in. 30 minutes of scrolling turns into 1 hour and the next thing I know, I haven’t got any of my homework done,” she said.
The short video clips release short bursts of dopamine. While continuously scrolling, each enjoyable video releases the chemical. If there is content a user dislikes, they can effortlessly swipe until they find a more appealing video.
TikTok’s goal is to keep users on the platform as long as possible by offering endless content matching the user’s interests. This format sucks users in and leads to procrastination.
On top of procrastination, it contributes to a shortened attention span.
Chelsea Thomas, senior, spends 5 hours daily on TikTok. Her TikTok habits result in her losing attention to unstimulating activities quickly.
“When I get bored, I immediately get on TikTok. My brain is automatically and continuously stimulated, it becomes an endless loop,” she said.
The app can alleviate boredom instantly. However, this can lead to a dependence on the app as it becomes harder to stay entertained by other activities.
The endless stream of short videos hurts the attention span. Some users struggle to focus on longer video formats as they have become used to the fast-paced platform. Other platforms or forms of entertainment feel slow or unstimulating.
“I could watch a whole show through TikTok clips with gameplay underneath the show, but I would not be able to watch the same show on TV,” said Thomas.
Alford has noticed that she loses interest in longer pieces of entertainment, too. Alford used to be able to watch TV shows or movies and stay attentive, but now she requires another type of stimulation paired with lengthy forms of entertainment.
“I can not watch more than 30 minutes of a movie without getting on my phone and playing a game while watching. The lack of change in content is unstimulating,” she said.
A TEACHER’S PERSPECTIVE
Teachers have also noticed the impact TikTok has on its users.
Mr. Merchant, a Leesville history teacher, believes TikTok harms his student’s attention spans.
“TikTok has definitely hurt their attention spans. Students can not concentrate for longer periods of time,” he said.
Merchant notices this the most with the long documents he assigns for his students to analyze.
“Realistically, within three minutes of working, students disconnect from longer assignments,” he said.
He has also observed an increase in procrastination. He hypothesizes that TikTok is the culprit.
“Students get bogged down in work when they get in a rut and can not stop scrolling. I receive emails from students asking for more time, explaining that they are overwhelmed by their workload. I think it is because they can not stop scrolling, leading to procrastination,” he said.
He notices this disconnect in all class levels. Some students even go on Tik Tok during notes or lectures.
TikTok is not all negatives, however. TikTok has had a positive impact on many of its users.
Being a social platform, TikTok offers the ability to make and continue connections.
“I have made new friends through TikTok. It’s also a weird way to keep in contact with out-of-state friends,” said Thomas.
With so many videos on the platform, it is easy for users to stumble across something new to them- such as a fact, skill, song, product, etc.
“TikTok teaches me a lot of new things- I learn something new everyday. It also introduces me to new music,” Alford said.
For the users that make videos, TikTok is great for expression.
“Making videos is a good creative and emotional outlet, even if I don’t post them,” said Alford.
“I draw inspiration from videos and try to recreate it through hobbies or videos,” Thomas said.
TikTok is a massive platform that influences its users. Students reflect TikToks’ impacts in the classroom through their work habits.
Hi, I’m Kira. I am a senior and I am also a tripet!