There is no need to convince anyone that using social media can have a harmful effect on a young person. However, British research showed something that not everyone was aware of. It only takes a few minutes for TikTok to start serving teens content that encourages negative and harmful behavior.
Experts from the British organization Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) conducted an experiment. They set up a fictitious account of a thirteen-year-old boy on TikTok. Its name suggested that the young man might suffer from an eating disorder. What happened half an hour later shocked investigators.
TikTok encourages young people to self-harm?
About three minutes after creating an account on TikTok, the platform began recommending suicide videos to a fictitious user. In the eighth minute, content promoting eating disorders and materials encouraging self-harm appeared in the “For you” section. An analysis conducted by specialists from the Center for Countering Digital Hate shows that teenagers who were interested in appearance and mental health were shown materials promoting self-harm and eating disorders on TikTok. They were constructed in such a way as to have a strong impact on the emotions of young viewers.
The research of British researchers was described on her Instagram by Magdalena Bigaj, creator and president of the Institute of Digital Citizenship Foundation, media researcher and social activist. She did this to draw attention to the dark side of TikTok and show the real world behind the virtual façade of sharing stories and creating heroes. At the same time, the woman wants to warn against thoughtless use of social media:
“The king is naked, but who will shout when there are naked people around the court? Remember. By using a given application, we authenticate its activities. Today, TikTok boasts that 10.6 million people use it in Poland. I am not in this group,” he writes on Instagram.
Eating disorders and self-harm among teenagers
Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, are a very serious problem that affects many people at an increasingly younger age. Like self-harm. It is estimated that self-harm affects up to 40-80 percent of teenagers. Eating disorders, in turn, affect approximately 2 percent of adolescents under 18 years of age. An incorrect relationship with food and a tendency to self-harm can lead to many serious complications. If you notice disturbing behavior in your child, for example refusing meals together, a sudden change in daily habits or frequently locking himself in the bathroom or room, do not underestimate the situation. React. Ask a psychologist or psychotherapist for help. The sooner you take appropriate steps, the better.