Happy New Year, Oswego High School! It’s a new year, new you, and I’m sure everyone has tons of resolutions in mind. Whether you’re hoping to become more confident, improve your attention span, or even read more books this new year, I promise you, there is one big solution to attaining any resolution: deleting TikTok.

Before you hate on me and doubt you’ll ever delete the app, hear me out. I could scroll through TikTok just as much as the next girl. I was in your shoes once; I downloaded it in 2019, made countless videos with my friends and on my own, and spent a majority of my screen time on it, especially in 2020. It was fun! I loved seeing the content my friends posted, I loved seeing funny videos from creators, and I loved being introduced to new songs and people on the app.

However, as fun as it was being on TikTok in 2020, it was also kind of a nightmare. I mean, it was the era of calling people “pick-me girls” and using the fairy emoji around insults in the comments section. Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of laughs over trends like these, but I think deep-down, we all know these ended up being problematic. 

It got to a point where I knew TikTok was not good for me, especially when we were in remote learning. It was too distracting, so I decided to delete it while we were in school, and allow myself to redownload it during breaks. After nearly a year of doing this, in October 2021, I decided to delete TikTok altogether. While there are parts of me that sometimes wish I still had the app, I’ll explain to you the biggest reasons I’m better off without TikTok, and why you would be too.

First off, it’s a huge distraction on its own. Of course, most social media is distracting, and phones definitely are in general, but there’s something about TikTok that is so much more intense. The app consists of videos ranging from mostly 15 seconds to 3 minutes, and this short time satisfies the exact attention span that teenagers hold, so we could scroll for hours without getting bored. I even got in the habit of closing the app when I was bored, but I would open it back up right away because I was so addicted. It’s so easy to become addicted to an app like this, so if your New Year’s resolution has to do with increasing your attention span or even focusing better at school, a break from this app will be a big help for you.

Though this is a hot take, I just don’t think TikTok is really that funny anymore. Granted, it took me nearly three months to realize this, but I think the app is solely the same thing over and over again now. We used to see creative skits, relatable content, and funny clips, but after watching my cousin scroll through TikTok next to me, a new pattern just repeats itself: someone in front of a green screen of a Tweet, someone trying really hard to make a relatable audio, and someone sharing too much information. I can admit, this kind of content can be super entertaining — it’s interesting to see people’s takes on audios, and the pot really stirs when someone shares too much about their personal life on your For You Page, but it gets boring. After a while, it becomes an “okay, I’ve seen this” situation; nobody is coming up with original, creative ideas anymore. Which brings me into my next point:

TikTok has become one of the weirdest, probably most dangerous social media platforms I’ve seen.

I say this for two main reasons: 1. It lately has encouraged a lot of unhealthy behaviors and 2. Young users have really forgotten how to act on it.

TikTok in the early 2020s is just like Tumblr in the early 2010s. It is a constant stream of body-checking, competition, and thinspo. We constantly see people perpetrating unrealistic body images, only furthering social media’s impact on body image. It’s scary, honestly. It is literally encouraging people to participate in the most damaging, unhealthy habits that contribute to looking a certain way even if it is unsafe.

I also don’t think I’ve ever seen more hate than I did on TikTok. A lot of people use it as a significant way to hate on random people because it is so easy to hide your identity, and hide behind your screen on TikTok. Of course, this is possible on any social media platform, but it is beyond ridiculous on TikTok, purely because it’s kind of encouraged. People make jokes out of gaslighting, body shaming, and other forms of hate to the point where other users think it’s okay.

I hope that by now, however long you’ve been on TikTok, you’ve noticed the toxic behaviors that come into play with the content on this app. With that said, here are a few ways you can take steps toward getting rid of it altogether for yourself.

Screen time limits

iPhones have the option to set limits of how long you can spend on each app, and if you think you need to take breaks, and you’ll actually listen to these notifications, you could benefit from this. You can start off by giving yourself a set amount of  screen time on TikTok and start to decrease it as you get more used to spending less time on there.

Taking breaks

Take it from me! If you think TikTok is taking a toll on your schoolwork, see if you can try deleting the app during school days and redownload for breaks and the weekend.

Unfollowing and the “Not Interested” button

If you think your biggest problem with TikTok is its toxic factors, you can always unfollow creators or even use the “Not Interested” button, especially on videos with audios that annoy you or trends that don’t make you feel good.

If you’re so totally addicted to TikTok, and you think you’re going to miss some of your favorite content creators, you can totally settle for the Reels on Instagram. TikTok has its upsides, and I’m sure there are many people who don’t face these kinds of problems on the app, but if you find yourself struggling and even hating it, it might be best for you to delete TikTok. Trust me, if I could do it, you could too.

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