Over the past three years, Tik Tok has become one of the most used social media platforms for teens. If you didn’t know already, Tik Tok is a social media app that shares short videos made by other people your age that are around 15 to 60 seconds long. I’ve had the app since October 2018, and there have been a lot of changes in my life that have been caused by Tik Tok.
One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is my decreased attention span. Because of the app’s format, the videos are made to give you as much content as possible in a very short amount of time. Not only do these videos present you with so much information in a short span of time, but they are also tailored to your interests, so you rarely see a video that doesn’t interest you. As I previously mentioned, over the three years I’ve had the app, I’ve seen my attention span drastically decrease. I often find myself unable to focus on anything that requires my full attention, when this wasn’t really the case before. Sure, I got bored sometimes, but paying attention was never a huge problem for me. Now, I can barely focus on conversations with my family because it takes them too long to get to the point of the story for me.
My decreasing attention span wasn’t a problem for me as long as I was on Tik Tok, but once I had to go talk to my family I started to realize that maybe it was a bit of a problem. One thing my family loves to talk about is movies, but I’ve never really been that interested in them. A month or two ago I tried to watch a movie by myself, but I couldn’t even last ten minutes because I was so bored. Even when I was playing a game on my phone I was still way too bored by the movie.
Initially, I went to go talk to my sister and ask her if she was dealing with the same thing, but she told me she had deleted Tik Tok a few weeks ago, so I had to ask someone else. I talked to a handful of my friends about this, and some of them told me that they were experiencing the same thing about not being able to concentrate on anything.
The appeal of things like Tik Tok and Instagram Reels is that they’re so short and they’re meant to give you as much information and content as possible in under a minute, and that’s why it’s so popular. However, I think that the popularity of Tik Tok and other apps like that is going to have a negative effect on people’s ability to pay attention to things for more than ten minutes without getting bored.
By Abby Tredway, Staff Writer