Montana’s got it right: TikTok must be banned


TikTok by Solen Feyissa is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The app TikTok, created by Chinese company ByteDance, has exploded in popularity across the U.S., especially in the Gen Z age group.

Matthew Steindecker, Reporter

TikTok should be banned in the U.S. as it is a severe risk to kids and teenagers. Besides the questions of national security threats and China, TikTok is addictive and encourages destructive behavior.

On Wednesday, May 17, Governor Greg Gianforte banned TikTok in his state of Montana. The state’s move to ban the app comes amid nationwide questioning whether TikTok should be banned.

TikTok is an app where users can make short video dances and post them. According to USA Today, TikTok continues to grow enormously in the country, with over 210 million downloads thus far.

Over the past couple of years, concerns over the app’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, have emerged because of national security concerns. TikTok has access to users’ cameras and information, which poses a problem because, under Chinese law, the government can access information from companies.

As a result of these concerns, the federal government and multiple states have banned TikTok for government employees, and this ban should extend to the rest of the population, especially to kids.

I deleted TikTok a year and a half ago because I found that when I was using it, I would not be productive whatsoever. I could not get off of it. I would scroll endlessly through each video, wasting all my free time. 

TikTok distracts the two-thirds of U.S. kids who use it by marketing directly to the viewer, meaning that kids are pulled into a continuous cycle of watching more and more videos. The average time someone 18 years old or younger spends daily on TikTok is 90 minutes. Due to this, kids neglect to do things like their homework, socialize and spend time outdoors, which medical experts agree impedes brain development.

Moreso, teens feel pressured to post whatever it takes to become famous. Teen girls are sexualized because the app makes them feel like they have to post half-naked “thirst traps” for views. The more views they get, the more rewarded they feel, despite sharing their bodies with random people.

“We have a part of the brain called the executive function that’s responsible for self-regulation,” professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine Gloria Mark said. “For kids, it’s not fully mature, and yet they’re exposed to [social media] before their executive function mind [can help them manage it].

When teens do not get many views or other friends get more, bad things can happen. TikTok is the worst social media because it is much easier to blow up on it, which makes the desire to become famous even more so.

“[TikTok can] increase mental distress, self-injurious behavior and suicidality among youth,” the National Institute of Health reported. “The effects appear to be greatest among girls.”

TikTok is wrecking my generation. It is shortening our attention spans and making us stressed and dysfunctional. Our brains are not mature enough to be able to stop the endless scrolling, pushing us further and further down the rabbit hole. Banning TikTok is necessary to protect my generation.