Why is TikTok so addicting?


Heroin, crack cocaine, chocolate doughnuts and tik-tok.  The common thread is they are all highly addictive. Need proof?  What’s your screen time?  We interviewed several LMHS students about their screen usage and whether they felt that this was making their lives better or worse.

Interviewing Students:

Freshman Starlyn said that she had spent 2 hours worth of screen time yesterday on TikTok alone: “It’s somewhere in the middle.”  She said it changed how she views things and it also positively changed her as a person. When asked what made it middle, she responded that “you can only see a certain amount of original content and after consuming very similar content one after the other it gets very boring.”

Junior Alyssa had spent 2 hours and 35 minutes yesterday on TikTok. She also feels neutral about how she feels about the app. “On one hand it gives you something to do if your bored, but on the other hand it’s extremely distracting and could get in the way of homework and other responsibilities.”

Freshman Kalina had spent 5 hours on TikTok yesterday. She “feels that it has positively impacted my life because it’s a great form of entertainment.”

Freshman Hailey had spent 13 hours yesterday on TikTok by itself. When asked how it impacted her she said, “it’s not ideal for me. It keeps me up at night which isn’t the best for school and other things as well.”

Freshman Samiah had spent 7 hours and 42 minutes yesterday on TikTok.  She said that “it has impacted me positively because it has taken her mind off of things that might be upsetting.”

TikTok pays attention:

TikTok itself also makes sure that you’re scrolling for a notable period of time. They track everything you do to make sure the content they are showing you are topics you enjoy. This leads to spending a long period of time on the app. But what about the videos on the app? What makes them addictive?  It all comes down to signals we get in our brains. In the case of Tik-Tok, the chemical is a natural transmitter called dopamine. you get a small ‘hit’ every time you scroll through a video. Like all addictions, this can be problematic.

If you’re unhappy with how much time you spend on the app, you just need to be more conscious with how long you spend on the app. This could include methods like setting a timer, or limiting your own screen time.