TikTok videos are becoming much more than just entertainment by helping students with their mental health, body positivity and more.
The app has become one of the most popular of our generation. Its main feed, or the ‘for you’ page, is geared towards each individual’s interests.
Molly Crandell is a junior in the LSEE program. She admits she spends more time on TikTok than she really should. She has been inspired, however, by its empowering videos.
“My for you page is filled with content where people seem to genuinely feel confident and comfortable being their true selves, or as true as they are portrayed,” Crandell said. “There’s lots of humor regarding real life situations, body types, and even friendships and relationships.”
Crandell has specifically been affected in terms of body positivity. She’s noticed how authentic TikTok is compared to the social norms people feel they have to follow on other apps like Instagram.
“Since I’ve downloaded TikTok, I think it’s definitely changed my perspective on the various forms of body shaming that happen, and helped me to realize that so many people are affected by their own insecurities,” Crandell said.
Crandell often sees Lizzo on her for you page and enjoys the content she puts out into the world.
“She’s constantly coming across my for you page with body positive content and recipes,” Crandell said. “In addition, Babyeagan is another influencer I see a lot of. She constantly talks about how she is perceived, whether it be about her body after two kids or the stigma of being a young mom.”
With being in a global pandemic while balancing 19 units this semester, Crandell has leaned on TikTok to relieve some of her stress.
“Watching my for you page is an easy way to take a break or 10 from distance learning,” Crandell said. “It’s humorous and positive content that’s pretty uplifting when there’s not much to do but stay at home.”
Nyah Guynup is a senior psychology major who is new to TikTok, but has already been positively affected by it.
“[TikTok] does seem to spread body positivism when people of all body types and skin color are embracing themselves,” Guynup said. “The app seems to definitely generate my interests well, which can be a negative factor because I’m not being exposed to other perspectives and lifestyles. The ‘for you’ primarily pertains strictly to you.”
Despite being new to TikTok, she has found ways the app brings positivity into her life.
“TikTok has definitely allowed me to laugh more and to be exposed to different perspectives and issues that aren’t typically presented to the public,” Guynup said.
AJ Alberino is an incoming freshman who is going to major in business administration and management. TikTok has allowed her to have a break from the noise of the world and just scroll through entertaining and empowering videos.
“My TikTok for you page has impacted me positively, with the world being in its current state,” Alberino said. “It’s helped connect me to new friends, and gave me a smile when I needed one.”
Some of her favorite influencers are Spencewuah, Ballehurns, Skincarebyhyram, Wisdm8 and Brittany_broski.
“These people have such an impact on me, whether it’s by making me smile or showing me a new outfit,” Alberino said. “[They] empower women, talk about the LGBTQ+ community and even social injustice. They not only make me feel better, but they also educate, and I think that’s super important and one of the best products of social media today.”
Delaney Hughes is in her first year of the Masters program in kinesiology who is also on TikTok. She tries her best to avoid the unhealthy culture of the app.
“Sometimes there’s too many ‘what I eat in a day’ videos, which get me too into my head with food,” Hughes said. “But I really only react and like and follow positive videos.”
TikTok influencers that Hughes watches include Sarah Rae Vargas, Remi Jo, Raeann Langas and Samantha Jo.
Every type of social media has its own positives and negatives but for Alberino, the app has helped her in more ways than one.
“TikTok has impacted my mental health mostly,” Alberino said. “It has its good and bad, but for the most part, it has given me inspiration, knowledge, confidence and smiles.”