Can laughter be an addiction?
Many college students and members of the younger generation are partaking in the latest social media app, known as TikTok, which has created some new ethical questions.
The application has reached more than 100 million users in the United States and 700 million globally, in only two years. The program uses a simplified interface, which allows users to create videos in seconds.
The main feed is an algorithm based off what the user interacts with, so the more you use the app, the more it knows what you like.
Mia Manheimer, a first-year student at Castleton University, is a fan.
“I honestly love TikTok, but it is also super toxic,” she said.
She says the app is extremely addictive, and it creates many expectations for what boys and girls should be doing, and how they look. The app is addictive because of its never-ending feed.
As soon as a video ends, it automatically brings the user to the next clip. Videos range from three to 60 seconds, and users are typically hooked within the first couple seconds.
Mason Svayg, a sophomore at Castleton University who uses TikTok daily, has similar beliefs about body expectations.
“I do think it’s bad for the younger generations, for the girls especially. TikTok is full of attractive women that sets high standards,” said Svayg, moments after saying the girls are a major reason why he loves the app so much.
Many of the popular dance moves, which are meant to be reenacted, are very sexualized. It is of no surprise that the more attractive females get more attention from users. TikTok has an age requirement of 13 years, although there is no validation necessary to create an account.
One of the new TikTok celebrities, Charli D’Amelio, is only 15 years old and has 22.8 million followers.
Kate Gilmond, a sophomore at University of Vermont, believes no one under the age of 13 should use the app, due to the sexual dances and adult jokes.
“Makes me laugh, and it’s a good exercise trying to learn dances,” said Gilmond, giggling while explaining she has spent over an hour trying to figure out a single dance.