TikTok Makes Changes As Concerns Rise Over Social Media’s Impact On Teens

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One social media platform, TikTok, has updated its guidelines because of the harmful effects some videos are having on teens.

“It’s not reality. Once [teens] see that, you know, someone is having a good time doing this or doing that, it impacts how they feel,” said social worker Jay Ratia. “They can say wow. Everyone else is doing great.”

Social media can be a highlight reel.

The effect it has on teens, especially during the pandemic, has been huge.

That’s why Ratia told CBS 17, he was thrilled when he learned the social media platform TikTok updated community guidelines for acceptable videos.

“Someone had to do it for the safety of children, because of COVID. COVID has changed the landscape completely. They’re using more social media now,” he explained.

“It’s all repetitive. Once you see [a video], you keep seeing it and you see it again and again,” Ratia said. “[Kids then will say] oh that’s my idol image. That’s what I should do. I should over-exercise. I should eat like that person.”

While some people are concerned that TikTok officials have taken the guidelines too far, Ratia disagrees.

“I don’t think it’s censoring,” he said. “Negative content is negative content. If it’s harming someone or it’s promoting a negative action.”

Atria hopes the strides TikTok has made, have a lasting impact.

“Hopefully, these other platforms will start re-doing their policies and updating them to make it safe,” he said.

Atria told CBS 17 that parents can also help their teens, by making sure there’s an open dialogue between them.

He encourages parents to talk with their children about what they see online, what they post, and what their friends post.

TikTok To Crack Down On Harmful Activities

Earlier this month, TikTok officials announced they were going to crack down and remove videos that showed “harmful activities by minors” and even videos that could promote disordered eating.

It’s the first move of its kind for social media, Ratia said.

“Like the suicide hoax and those challenges,” he added.

He said it’s a good first step to help the mental health of teens.