The internet offers a bevy of entertainment that can leave users scrolling for what seems like hours through a landfill of content. The popular social media app, TikTok, provides a great glimpse into this media hellscape as audiences can watch numerous videos that are less than a minute long.
However, what is seen on the app often paints a romanticized view of the many facets of society, which could leave false impressions on a number of viewers. While TikTok provides an escape from reality, its content shouldn’t be mistaken for it.
Nearly a third of users on TikTok are within the 10-19 age range, a very impressionable age where individuals are constantly developing and learning more about themselves. With a greater number of children gaining access to mobile devices, even younger users are exposed to the material available on the app.
Although much is fun and jokes, it’s critical for creators to be mindful of what they post and the message they disseminate.
Topics that are romanticized or seen through “a rose-colored lens” can range over a multitude of interests, not exactly pertaining to specific trends that plague the app.
It’s important to note that TikTok’s “For You Page,” like other social media platforms, is algorithmic, meaning that the content delivered to each user is tailored toward the viewer’s interests, so everyone’s feeds look different.
Since money has been tough to come by lately, easy money-making schemes tend to dominate the content on many’s “For you Page,” showing many intuitive ways to earn money seemingly easy while never having to leave the house.
However, many of these situations are not a sustainable way to earn an income, nor will it turn out how the creator portrays the video. Even if one finds themselves able to sustain this lifestyle, it will require more work than what is perceived. It’s simply an idealized version of the situation that attempts to paint success to gain interactions from users.
Furthermore, basic nuances of life are no longer embraced nor enjoyed by the users themselves.
Rather than enjoying a sunset with their own eyes or enjoying a delicious-looking meal, they’d prefer watching someone partake in the act through their phones. In another sense, some creators make it seem that if you aren’t taking in the same activities they are participating in — working out, travel, recreation, etc. — then you are wasting your life.
Some users glamorize serious topics such as mental health and eating disorders while their comment section is flooded with praise. Rather than trying to stop the problem, the creator instead makes the matters worse, whether it is intended to or not.
Even trends such as individuals accentuating the bags under their eyes tear away at the insecurities of people who were met with dismay for possessing that physical look.
Granted, to each their own on how they manage their personal issues, but these topics could prove to be triggering to victims of these effects, or could rather negatively promote these topics as less than serious.
There should be education and a form of support for individuals who have or will face these issues, but ensuring that the right message is being sent is crucial if people truly want to help others with their challenges.
Online content isn’t always what meets the eye, which could cause people to feel duped if they take these romanticized situations on social media as the real product. The influence that creators possess with their content could have positive or negative consequences, no matter their intention.
While creators should be mindful of the message they send to their viewers, users should also be aware of these misconstrued perceptions and gauge them through a clearer lens.