Potential TikTok Ban Doesn’t Scare Students, but Everyone Suggests Balanced Approach


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Talk of banning Tik Tok hasn’t slowed teens from using the app.

TikTok is on the verge of getting banned. Congress banned Tik Tok on government devices in December 2020, and Montana bill SB 419 passed by a vote of 54 to 43, banning TikTok in the state as of January 1, 2024. 

Younger audiences mainly believe that TikTok is like any other social media platform. Psychologists, however, think that TikTok can be bad for kids’ mental health and can be addicting. Additionally, TikTok could pose a national security threat because its user data could make its way to China’s government.

Seventh grader Nayla A. is one of many Longfellow students who use TikTok on a regular basis. 

“Me personally, I use TikTok  so much,” Nayla said. “it would be so sad if it got banned.” 

In talking to students, we consistently heard them mention a need for balance when using the app. 

“I think social media is a good way to socialize,” said Lily A., qualifying the statement a little. “I think a lot of people sometimes are on social media a little too much, which prevents them from living a normal life outside social media.” 

So why is TikTok being brought to the attention of Congress as a dangerous app?

The New York Times article “How TikTok Reads Your Mind” delves into a document for TikTok employees explaining their goals and algorithms.  

“TikTok relies heavily on how much time you spend watching each video to steer you toward more videos that will keep you scrolling, and that process can sometimes lead young viewers down dangerous rabbit holes, in particular toward content that promotes suicide or self-harm — problems that TikTok says it’s working to stop by aggressively deleting content that violates its terms of service.”

Seventh grader Octavia O. agrees that there are positive and negative impacts on students, depending on how they use TikTok. 

”I feel like it depends on the students,” Octavia pointed out. “TikTok can impact students in a positive way, like learning new things on the app.” 

Some video clips brighten your day and make you laugh, while others can even be educational, but they can also encourage bad behavior.

“I worry about the amount of time students spend on the site,” said history teacher Jane Layton. “Some of the clips have a negative impact on teens by encouraging them to participate in dangerous or destructive social media challenges.” 

Whether or not TikTok is banned remains to be seen, as does its real impact on today’s youth.