The TikTok addiction. Here is how it is affecting you

I have fought my demons. Every day I evaluate myself to catch any creeping new ones. Here is one I have discovered lately.

I joined Tiktok last year. I had sworn not to follow the herd of people joining it but somehow I gave in to the fear of missing out (FOMO). So I joined, enjoyed some great funny and educative videos, and also posted some content that got me thousands of followers.

TikTok can be addictive

In the first months on the app, I realized how vulnerable I had become to it. I would log in to watch three to five videos to relax my mind only to realize later that I had been scrolling for over two hours.

Two hours of watching comedy, dancers, and life hacks I would never use in life. Most especially those that Khaby Lame would enjoy mocking. I had become so unproductive with declined concentration levels. But fortunately, I grabbed the demon before it had outgrown my strength.

How does TikTok make you addicted to it?

The TikTok algorithm uses mainly three ways to keep you glued to the application. The intention is to keep you watching videos for as long as they can keep you. That definitely depends on your ability to control your urge for the content it feeds you with.

  • TikTok cuts off your ability to decide whether to watch the videos or not by immediately feeding you with a video as soon as you open the application. That video will be based on your consumption behavior which the app tracks to give you a continued refined feed of a never-ending stream of short videos you will like.

  • TikTok only allows short videos of maximum length of 60seconds to be posted. Content creators therefore have to compress the content and make it on point to deliever the desired intention within the given time. Users therefore expect instant gratification from tiktok videos. This is the trick that keeps them glued on the app. If you can get a funny joke within 30seconds, the urge can convince you that more videos won’t hurt. Before you know it, you have spent a full hour watching useless videos.
Unending scrolling
  • The discovery feeling. It is sometimes boring to see feeds from only people you are friends or familiar with as it is with other social media platforms. Tiktok makes a choice for you by showing you videos from all around the world of random people. When you identify one you like, you get a dopamine fix that makes you feel like you discovered something great. The unending stream sends you on a scroll to discover more.

Yes, Tiktok can be addictive. And of course, you need to be aware of the TikTok addiction before you fall victim to it. You are addicted to TikTok if you have signs of a TikTok addiction

Signs of a TikTok addiction

If you use TikTok compulsively and experience urges to engage in the app when offline.

 If you are unable to manage and regulate your TikTok use.

If you forego social interaction to watch TikTok videos.

 If you spend a lot of time thinking about TikTok videos, curating videos, or scrolling.

If you find yourself using TikTok for longer durations than intended

 If your TikTok use is contributing to neglect in important life aspects like work, school, personal hygiene, sleep, self-care, or relationships.

 If you continue to use TikTok despite it contributing to problems and losses in your life.

If you find yourself needing to watch TikTok videos more frequently and for longer durations to feel good, or gratified or escape reality.

 If you find yourself on TikTok in intensive attention situations like driving, crossing the street, cooking, and other potentially dangerous activity.

 If you experience anxiety, low mood, stress, irritability, and paranoia due to the use of TikTok yet continue to engage in the app.

If you experience the above symptoms when not using TikTok.

 If you find yourself having to lie or hide your compulsive use of the app from family, teachers, boss, colleagues, or other individuals.

Is TikTok a good social media platform to use?

Ohh yes it is. Teenager Riyaz Aly makes at least $35,000 for every branded content post. Some very many people have earned a living through sharing content on TikTok. Many have as well got various opportunities that involve being scouted for movie gigs and shows.

There are also many people making sales on the application by displaying their products in videos.

If managed it can be a great source of income

TikTok is a great app to share content and socialize as well. It sparks creativity making creatives busy doing what they love.

Also with regulation, it’s a great way to relax. There are plenty of funny short clips that can dig laughter out of you on the most stressful of days.

However, just like anything that is consumed in excess, TikTok can be a virus or cancer softly eating you up to bring you unwelcome results.

Weak memory. Watching TikTok for at least 20minutes, pause and try to remember the second or third video that you watched. Of course, you won’t.  The short videos you watch video after video have different content. One second you are watching kids on the street dancing then the next you are watching Dave Chappelle jokes.

The mind is taken from place to place without giving it sufficient time to absorb the information. This in turn programs it not to retain information for short-term memory. It also reduces your concentration span and short-term memory capacity.

Weak boundaries. Because you keep scrolling and watching videos at the expense of other important activities, you lose respect for your own boundaries since you break them yourself i.e time management.

Profanity and deregulated content. TikTok is not regulated. Even though it is for people 13 years and above, the content that people freely post is not regulated. Misinformation, unreliable advice, lies, profane pictures and words, etc are very common on TikTok which many people can become victims of.

Low productivity. On average users spend at least 52minutes watching TikTok videos. Imagine how much you would accomplish spending that time doing things that benefit you mentally, financially, spiritually, and physically rather than watching someone lip-syncing ‘’You want to Bamba’’. Compulsive use of TikTok less productive.

Low self-esteem. People on TikTok show a side of their lives that only highlights great moments like a holiday in Hawai, good food, fancy clothes, etc. which can stimulate bitter feelings about your life thinking that everyone else is doing well but you. Yet in reality, their lives are far different from what you see.

How to manage your time on TikTok.

For starters, if you have realized a compulsive daily binge on TikTok, it may be very hard for you to go cold turkey off the app. TikTok owners very much understand how addictive the application can be so they put a feature in it to help you limit your time on it.

Start with limiting your time on the app to 40min per day. This way you can be able to balance between the urges and the need to be off the application. Here is how to set a time limit on the app.

  1. Open TikTok.
  2. Click or tap your profile icon in the bottom right corner then go to your account profile.
  3. Go to the hamburger icon at the top right corner (“≡”). This leads you to your “Settings and Privacy” menu.
  4. In the “Content & Activity” subheading, go to “Digital Wellbeing.”
  5. From the Digital Wellbeing menu, go to “Screen Time Management.”
  6. Tap on “Set a time limit,”  select the maximum length of time you want to spend on TikTok per day. You can choose from four options: 40 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, or 120 minutes. Tap the back arrow in the top left corner once you’ve selected your choice.
  7. Click  the red “Turn on” button at the bottom of the screen.
  8. Set a passcode, then re-enter to confirm.

Whenever you reach that set time, the application will close and ask you to enter the passcode in case you want to continue using it. Do not enter the passcode until the next day. Go on to do other tasks. After a certain period of at least a week, your mind will adjust to needing TikTok less than before.

Live the app once the set time elapses

How to fight the TikTok addiction.

In case the time limit option has failed to work here are things you can do to curb the addiction.

  1. Take a TikTok break. Seriously you won’t die if you go for sometime off TikTok. Delete the application for a period of atleast a week to reset your mind and give it some freedom from the control of the urges to keep watching the videos. A TikTok social media break will do you great.

2. Find more important things to do. One of the reasons why you find yourself thinking about TikTok is perhaps because you have nothing to do. Take on tasks that are beneficial to you. you can enroll to a class, learn a skill, hang out with family, read a book etc.

3. Make TikTok your reward. Do important tasks and plan to watch TikTok when you finish them. Set a to do list for the day and follow it. If your mind has it that you will watch TikTok videos, it will keep you interested in other tasks. Which in turn reduces your time on the app.

4. See a therapist. In case any of the above do not help, it is time to see a therapist. Visit a psychotherapist that majors in addictions to help you deal with your tiktok addiction.

Using TikTok to your benefit.

All that being said, TikTok can be of great impact on your life if you switch from the side of content consumers to content creators.

If you become intentional about using TikTok for beneficial reasons, it can be a great way to connect with people, get an audience, and make money. Find a niche of video content you can make and create it to the best of your abilities. Be consistent with creating and posting. Within a short time, you can start making money.

Conclusion. As the world becomes more advanced technologically, problems are being solved and a lot is being made easy to get. However, new problems are also sprouting out. Many of these we do not see with our eyes yet they are very harmful to our normal and well-being. Some of these brought about by the easy dopamine fix TikTok brings are time-wasting, short attention span, and low productivity. It is very important to be conscious of these issues while using TikTok

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