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This year has been memorable for a lot of reasons, both good and bad. Regardless of how you feel about 2020, all of us have been having to spend a lot of time alone and on technology more than usual. And while there are tons of different hobbies and apps around to distract ourselves with, one of the most popular is the social media app, TikTok. TikTok, with it’s scary specific For You page and it’s endless supply of creators and videos to show you, can guarantee hours of entertainment. However, as great as TikTok is, there is a negative side-effect and the signs of it have only been growing as this year proceeded. 

One of the best things about TikTok is how short the videos are. Ranging from 30 to 60 seconds each, users can be exposed to hundreds of different types of content within the span of a couple of minutes. This makes it nearly impossible to get bored while on the app, and is part of the reason why most would consider it to be almost addicting or, as Forbes affectionately calls it, “Digital Cocaine.” But, like with most good things, as long as you’re able to balance the time on the app with time spent focusing on school, work and life in general, there shouldn’t be any problems, right?

Not necessarily. We’ve all heard about having good things in moderation, but the amount of time spent on TikTok isn’t even the biggest problem when it comes to using the app. It’s the impact on our attention spans that is slowly becoming a major issue. Our generation especially has been bombarded with technological advances that make sure we are continually entertained and distracted nearly 24/7. The problem with this is that when things aren’t “interesting” enough, such as lectures or homework, it’s very hard to stay focused. And TikTok isn’t making this any easier. 

As mentioned before, videos are limited to a maximum of a minute. This seems short, and indeed it is. While one 60 second video alone probably wouldn’t do much damage, consider it this way: if you spend ten minutes on TikTok and half of the time you get 60 second videos and the other half you get 30 second videos, that means you’ve seen 15 videos worth of different subjects, songs and trends in one sitting. Start adding that up in regard to hours of time spent on TikTok, and it becomes an alarmingly high number.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love TikTok. I use it almost daily, along with most of my friends and family who also enjoy the app. However, when we get used to instant gratification and being able to swipe quickly through rows and rows of information so we can be entertained, it can start to become a problem that will negatively affect a lot of different areas in our lives. So as you get into the holiday breaks and find yourself with a lot of free time, remember to use TikTok safely and smartly.

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