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TikTok's Health Impacts Should Be Studied In Full, According To Researchers


RJ Pierce, Tech Times


TikTok has seen a massive influx of new users over the past few years. But while user growth has been largely consistent, studies of the social media giant’s impact on health remain almost non-existent. 

(Photo : KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

This picture taken in Moscow on November 11, 2021 shows the Chinese social networking service TikTok’s logo on a tablet screen.

This is the concern that researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine are raising, reports The Verge. They say that there’s barely any actual research on how TikTok affects the health of its over 1 billion users, which could be harmful in the long run. 

Marco Zenone, who is one of the researchers, says that the platform’s massive nature should have already jumpstarted several studies into its deep-seated health effects, particularly on the mental health state of TikTok’s users. 

According to Zenone, it must be figured out if TikTok’s issues are of a similar nature to those of other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. 

Instagram is an excellent example wherein it is alleged that teen girls are suffering from mental health problems because of so-called “unrealistic standards of beauty” that are being pushed forward by the network’s algorithm. 

Another potential problem with TikTok, according to Zenone, is the massive proliferation of conspiracy theories on the platform. 

In another report by The Verge, a certain series of conspiracy videos under the “Plandemic” banner started going viral on TikTok and other platforms. The platform, as per Zenone’s team, seems to have failed to slow the spread of the videos down. 

Zenone further argues that TikTok has simply risen to prominence in just a short time and that research basically failed to catch up. This is a major concern to public health researchers like him due to how bad things have gone in the past with things being “left unchecked.” 

Read Also: TikTok Can Now Be Used Directly on Amazon Fire TV; Will Also Come to Echo Show

Here’s How TikTok Has Dealt With Their Impact On User Health 

TikTok, alongside other massively popular social media platforms, has been the prime target of scientists and even legal entities on their alleged health impact. So how have they fared under the scrutiny? 

For one, they did try to roll out mental health resources for their users, specifically in the wake of strong criticism against fellow social media giant Instagram. 

According to a report by CNN, these resources are intended by TikTok to support the well-being of its users, most of which are young adults and teenagers. Users can access several in-app guides for preserving mental health, reach out to a like-minded community, and get much-needed social support. 

(Photo : Getty Images )

Aside from the resources, TikTok has also improved its search engine. Whenever a user searches for words like “suicide,” for instance, they’re going to find information about local support resources which can help anyone struggling find the right treatment options. 

Looking Ahead 

A comprehensive scientific investigation into the health effects of TikTok could present an opportunity to make it as safe as possible, more so for younger people. 

Zenone argues that people should always keep TikTok and other social media networks accountable for their perceived harmful effects on the populace. 

Related Article: Top 5 TikTok Influencers to Follow for Mental Health Advice, Tips, and Peace of Mind

This article is owned by Tech Times 

Written by RJ Pierce 

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