Why It's Time to Delete TikTok
'Teens who are “addicted” to TikTok experience worse depression and anxiety, and in turn, reduced working memory capacity.' - PsyPost
Okay, everyone, I hate to ruin your day but it is time to delete TikTok and downgrade our time spent on social media altogether. I miss the days TikTok was just a Ke$ha song, or better still, the days before I was born with that weird robot general thing from Return to Oz (1985). Needless to say, social media is the bane of my life, and I think I speak for my generation when I say, it has ruined us entirely. I don't know anyone who doesn't have some sort of mental health problem, from mild to major. It's as if it's contagious, and perhaps it is. Cancel culture is a poison, micro-narcissism exists everywhere spreading its toxicity to every corner of the inernet. Oh, and our privacy has been sacrificed in the name of security, but this sacrifice has been in vain. The terms and conditions have made us all willingly exchange both our privacy and security for the sake of funny videos.
I downloaded Tiktok in 2021 (as did millions are others in the U.K) in the hope to educate people with disabilities, particularly Cerebral Palsy. I want to prove people wrong about disabled people, and I thought TikTok was the platform to do so. I did gain a small following, and I did start accumlating likes.
My For You Page (fyp) was becoming so incredibly accurate that everytime I went onto the app I felt a sense of comfort like it knows me better than anything else, like a nice pixelated hug. I found my sort of people through TikTok. People who loved the same films, TV shows, and music as I do. I am not alone on TikTok.
I found my place, but I lost my time.
Hours and hours of endless strolling for what exactly? Random hits of dopamine. What was there to acheive? I hate being counterproductive. I want to spend my days doing as much as possible, but TiKTok was taking up three to four hours of my day. We spend roughly four years of our life on our phones. One third of which we are sleeping, and another third is on the porcelain throne. We spend the rest of our time working barely making ends meet and for what to just sit on TikTok wasting our lives away?
No, not me. I can't live like that. I am absolutely terrifed that I will look back on my life and think I could have done more with my time, if only I didn't waste that IT lesson sitting on Tumblr. Or, I could have woke up earlier not to write that chapter, I should have gone on that trip with friends...
Teenagers spend roughly 75 minutes a day on TikTok. In the U.S 61% of TikTok users are female, with 50% of the female users suffering with some form of depression.
The age-range of active users is vast with over 1 billion since 2021:
What's even worse is that a recent study has found that 40% of Gen Z get their information through TikTok. (I know right, sh*t). This is not good, and here are a few reasons why I need you to remove the app and try to wean yourself off social media. I promise you it will do you a world of good.
So firstly, lets begin with Data Collection and how TikTok does so:
The data TikTok collects from users contains sensitive information and is often taken without the user’s explicit knowledge. This data includes device brand and model, Operating System (OS) version, mobile carrier, browsing history, app and file names and types, keystroke patterns or rhythms, wireless connections, and geolocation. [*]
Furthermore, the app collects 'the content of messages and information about when messages are sent, received and/or read.' In aggregate, TikTok’s data collection is more intrusive than other apps. Users grant the app access to the microphone and camera to use the platform. Multiple lawsuits allege that TikTok also collects biometric data from users, including facial geometry, iris scans, voice recognition, and fingerprints. [*]
TikTok uses facial recognition software to superimpose images on users’ faces for use in videos. Unlike other data that is collected, biometrics represent the physical user and are generally permanent. Biometrics are therefore of high intelligence value. There is no direct evidence that TikTok is giving this data to the Chinese government, yet the existence of the National Intelligence Law compels TikTok to provide the data if requested. [*]
While TikTok claims all user data is stored in the U.S. and Singapore, TikTok’s parent company (ByteDance) servers are all located in China and the app itself contains references to China-based infrastructure.
Next, on 27th June 2017 the Chinese Communist Party introduced a National Intelligence Law of which includes:
"Article Four: requires all Chinese citizens to preserve, and not harm, national security, to prevent and stop espionage activities and maintain national security.”
“Article Seven : any organization or citizen shall support, assist and cooperate with the state intelligence work in accordance with the law.”
Article Fourteen: state intelligence work organs, when legally carrying forth intelligence work, may demand that concerned organs, organizations, or citizens provide needed support, assistance, and cooperation.”
The Intelligence Law, by contrast, repeatedly obliges individuals, organizations, and institutions to assist Public Security and State Security officials in carrying out a wide array of intelligence work. Organizations and citizens must also protect the secrecy of “any state intelligence work secrets of which they are aware.” [*]
So to recap, data collection, intelligence law, ok. Now...
Internet addiction is a serious issue, correlating to depression, anxiety and loneileness. Social media is a plague, and aligrorithms are changing the way we think. Aligrorithm analysts are the real influncers. The hold our mind and lives in their hands. They are the most powerful people on the planet. According to Nicholas Carr:
"If knowing what we know today about the brain's plasticity, you were to set out to invent a medium that would rewire our mental circuits as quickly and thoroughly as possible, you would probably end up designing something that looks and works a lot like the internet."
He continues to say:
"It's a basic principle that the brain is very sensitive to any kind of stimulation, and from moment to moment, there is a very complex cascade of neurochemical electrical consequences to every form of stimulation. If you have repeated stimuli, your neural circuits will be excited. But if you neglect other stimuli, other neural circuits will be weakened."
The core of Carr's argument stresses that:
"the online world so taxes the parts of the brain that deal with fleeting and temporary stuff that deep thinking becomes increasingly impossible. Our ability to learn suffers, and our understanding remains shallow."
Younger minds are more impressionable, and these affects are determinmental. Not only has our privacy between literally given too these companies willingly through terms and conditions, our security national and international is at great risk and so is the future also.
"Internet addiction occurs through some neurohormonal pathways. Addictions activate a combination of sites in the brain associated with pleasure, known together as the “reward centre” or “pleasure pathway” of the brain. When activated, dopamine release is increased, along with opiates and other neurochemicals.
The effect of Internet addiction on physiological and psychological health is tremendous. Various studies have reported it from time to time. The effect on psychological health in these crucial years of life inhibits productivity and scholastic performances of young adults/adolescents. Understanding the issue and providing timely intervention is crucial to prevent long-lasting psychological morbidities."
Why am I am concerned? The political sphere and social sphere exist in harmony to each other, they are interlocked, because they influence one another. If something that happens in the social realm it has a knock on effect in the real world, i.e:
We are delibertly making ourselves depressed, we are allowing ourselves to be manipulated into thinking you need to have your house a certain way, and that we should all compare ourselves to each others acheivements because why not rob us of more joy? So long as we are competing against each other in our depressed solitude, children in China read Sun Tzu's The Art of War (5BCE) as complusory literature, Facebook and Twitter are banned, as is, well time travel? Just head to my Well... this is terrifying article, and you'll see what I mean.
We need to come away from social media, and come off the internet once in a while. We need to give our minds a chance to heal from all the crap we've been cosuming since we were children. This is coming from a 97' baby who grew up with social media as it grew itself, and i'm telling you, delete TikTok before its too late, thats if its not already.
Your FYP is not your friend, it is proof that aligorithms, data collection and intelligence have stolen your life, stolen you! They know you better than you will ever know yourself, something that is nothing more than a bunch of pixels. Does that bring you comfort knowing all of this now? Or do you feel like I did? Exposed - like your in a lit up glass box in a room full of masked strangers on sale to the highest bidder.
Is it really worth it? No. Stop wasting your life away, go live! Be free. Enjoy life, see the beauty that does exists in this world, rather than the negative and shallow. Be happy. Delete it, you can do it, be brave. I believe in you!
All my work can be found on my other blog: https://www.publish0x.com/home
About the Creator
Rosie J. Sargent
Hello, my lovelies! Welcome, I write everything from the very strange to the wonderful; daring and most certainly different. I am an avid coffee drinker and truth advocate.
If you're open to an argument follow me on Twitter @NuttallJasmin :)
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
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Excellent article. Social media made it easier to find worth through external validation through likes and surface engagement at the detriment of cultivating internal validation through self study. One is quick. The other takes time. If we want to take back ourselves, we need to turn off social media and take back our time. ❤'d and subscribed 🤗
Interesting article. As far as mental illness goes it has been running rampant long before there ever was an internet. It's just nowadays there's a lot more awareness of mental illness but believe me mental illness has been a major issue throughout society for hundreds of years. Cancel culture has also been something that has been around for a very very long time and is something that has been practiced by all sides of society and all sides of the political sphere. It is not just one side of politics or society partaking in cancel culture it is all encompassing among our population and our politics. Plus somebody somewhere decided to give it a name "cancel culture" which brings the awareness of this practice to even more people.
Awesome article with great insight. Well done!
I literally just asked my kids yesterday what "fyp" meant. Love all the research in your article!
I nether joined (nor wanted) tiktok. it nether made sense to me. and I say this a lot: Nothing is more sad than watching an eight-year old trying to explain tiktok to her grandparents.
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Impressive information! Most of which was aware from various sources. Agree! Time to disconnect from TikTok now! 😊😊😊
I'm from a generation or two ahead of you my phone was attached to the wall as a kid. I use one social media platform (not ticktock) to keep in touch with family and friends who live far away. My account is private and my rule is if we haven't shared a meal don't ask to follow me. Even so I catch myself scrolling through crap I really don't care about. I think your advise is good. Go live life, don't think you have to post every activity it is OK to do things and just enjoy life and keep it to yourself. I hope your advice it taken.