The short video making app Tik Tok has taken over the phones of millions of tweens and teens all around the world, and is now spreading into the halls of high schools.
West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Florida has created a whole entire club dedicated to the Tik Tok app, the New York Times reports, which allows teens to make short video clips of dancing or acting out a skit, usually set to music or a voice track. The app has become quite a phenomenon that has been downloaded on smart phones over 1 billion times, according to SensorTower.
Meeting every other Monday after school, these Florida students gather to watch the most popular Tik Tok videos, recreate them and then challenge their creations against each other, and the winner earns a gift card. The persuasive line to encourage people to join is, “Do you want to be Tik Tok famous?” Some tweens who are “Tik Tok famous” have even more followers than established celebrities on YouTube, Inverse.com reports, and even some students at West Orange have videos that have gone viral.
Although the app is more popular among middle and high school students, I still see these Tik Tok videos everywhere on other social media platforms. I personally don’t have the app downloaded, but these short dancing clips pop up everywhere on my Instagram account. Even without participating directly on the app, you can’t escape these viral videos.
Does this social media app belong in educational organizations though? I think bringing attention to social media platforms in a school setting could be dangerous, considering how prevalent it already is in life outside of school. Many social media apps have been a factor in the mental health problems of teens. A report by the American Academy of Pediatrics even coined the term “Facebook depression” and described it as a, “depression that develops when teens and preteens spend time on social media sites and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression due to the intensity of the online world,” the National Center for Health Research reports. But what about Tik Tok?
Tik Tok is different from other social media platforms. On apps like Instagram and Facebook, the content posted is carefully crafted and edited by users in order to put their best image forward. This kind of posting is fake and doesn’t show anyone as their real, relatable selves. Tik Tok gives teens an opportunity to have fun and make real creative content like dances and skits, rather than posting heavily filtered photos.
This type of app is the perfect concept for a club at a high school. It promotes creativity in the students and encourages them to work together on a project that is actually fun for them. This is a club that absolutely anyone can get involved in, and is an after school activity for the kids who might not be very athletic or have the talents that most school clubs require. Also, because of Tik Tok’s popularity in all types of teens, I can only imagine how this club can bring together students from multiple different social groups and create new friendships. Tik Tok is a rare social media outlet that has the ability to bring teens together instead of isolating them, so I think it should be welcomed in an education setting.