TikTok users need to practice sensitivity


Emily Polsin, Staff

After a long day of school, the need to unwind and do nothing for a little while is inevitable. What’s not to love about a big, comfy bed, silence, and absolutely no reason to stress…right?

Unfortunately, the way most young people choose to unwind is with hours upon hours of scrolling on their phone. I’m not judging. I happen to be an expert at wasting an ungodly amount of time on all forms of social media, specifically TikTok.

Don’t get me wrong, TikTok can be a lot of fun. Certain trends can create an influx of creativity, comedy, inspiration or even provide some interesting information. 

However, when lighthearted content turns into reels of videos on your “For You Page,” triggering and sometimes even glorifying mental health struggles, it becomes a lot less enjoyable and stress-free. 

As someone who struggles with mental health problems, I definitely do not want to open my phone and see hundreds of videos about depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, etc.  

There is a large difference between raising awareness and using someone’s mental health issues to tear them down. I have seen far too many videos where people talk about their mental health struggles and, all of a sudden, the comments section becomes a trauma contest.

The worst part of the rise of mental illness-related videos on TikTok is the people who manage to share tips on different harmful behaviors and try to mask it with a comedic caption or audio. 

Now, I am not great at talking about my own issues without cracking jokes. That is how I am. But there are ways to do so without teaching impressionable people ways to self-harm. 

I wish I was kidding. 

The type of content seen on TikTok now is similar to what was on Tumblr in the early 2010s. The only difference is that rather than blog posts, they have become videos.

Not every video is directly related to mental health, either. There are quite a few completely harmless videos, but then the comments are filled with people extremely offended for absolutely no reason. 

For example, there are many videos of girls who happen to have flat stomachs, making videos completely unrelated to their body, yet the commenting trolls will accuse them of “triggering eating disorders.” 

With all of this negative content, it begs the question: Why do we keep opening using these apps? 

First of all, the attention span of the younger generations shortens every year, so a 15 second video is far more digestible than a two-hour movie. 

Secondly, it’s easy and human to seek out people who can relate to us and empathize with us. Raising awareness and normalizing these struggles with mental health is important, as well as supplying resources so people can get help. 

Unfortunately, a lot of people just don’t know how to think before posting. A lot of people don’t have somebody to talk to, and sometimes the only people who will listen are behind a screen. But I urge everyone to think before posting content that could harm others and take everything you view on TikTok with a grain of salt.