I got on Tik Tok in 2019, when it was still just funny videos and short dances to make with friends. Over the last four years, the app has developed into one of the the most popular and influential platforms for our generation. I was extremely addicted to Tik Tok ever since I downloaded it. I had a two hour a day screen time limit on it and would surpass that most days. I would start and end my days scrolling and filled all of my free time on it.
I started to notice that my attention span was getting shorter and shorter -- which was already short to begin with because of my Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). I know ADD is already so prevalent in Gen Z and apps like Tik Tok are definitely not helping. The constant scrolling, short videos, instant gratification, etc.
I never felt like my mental health was being strained from social media until this past year, where I started to see an increase in comparing myself to others as my time on Tik Tok was increasing and the 'trends' on the app were shifting. This comparison was beginning to take a toll on my confidence and self image.
One of my friends recently decided to delete Tik Tok and I admired that, but I never thought that would be realistic or attainable for me because I was so addicted to it. I used it as my safety blanket. I was on it whenever I was alone in public, whenever I was bored, or during any spare moment I had.
I thought to myself, "how much could I accomplish and get done in the amount of time I have wasted on an app that doesn't benefit me in any way?" I could read more and actually contribute to my brain development. I could grow my intellectual capabilities by spending more time studying or learning new things. The possibilities are endless.
After this realization, I decided to give up Tik Tok for Lent, and so far it has been such a liberating month without it and it has surprisingly been a lot easier than I thought it would be.
I spend more time reading and have made it a routine to read my bible before bed, which in turn has helped to give me a better outlook on life. I make myself a healthy breakfast now with enough time to get ready in the mornings because I'm not wasting time scrolling after waking up. I have had the attention span to have longer, more meaningful discussions with my peers, and I have more confidence in myself because I am not constantly comparing myself to an unrealistic beauty standard I was seeing everyday on my For You Page.
My major is Public Relations and I have been fascinated in learning about the growing world of social media. For the past few years, I thought I wanted to have a job that included managing or running social media accounts for a company. Since I feel so much better without this app being a part of my daily routine, I have come to a harsh reality that what I have seen myself doing as a career might not necessarily be right for me. I don't want to feed into or be a part of the problem, I want to help solve it.
This is where the idea for this website came along. I have already had my 'Livin Life Gracefully' Instagram page for over a year, but now that I have Tik Tok on the back burner, I now have more time and motivation to write more frequently. I still wanted an outlet to express my creative side and implement my passion for design and digital media, so here we are. I also loved the idea and vision I had for that Instagram account and I think having this website allows me to create more in depth content, with more meaning and purpose, to actually inspire, help, and motivate others.
Like I said, my 'Tik Tok Timeout' has only been for about a month, but after seeing the positive effects that its absence has brought into my life, I'm not sure if I want to get back on it. We'll see, maybe this website will eventually have it's own Tik Tok page spreading the same message across another channel, but for now, this time away has been nice and I now feel like I have the strength to limit myself and maybe one day use it again in moderation for a greater purpose.
If you have struggled with a similar attachment to any social media platform, or technology in general, I would definitely recommend pushing yourself and try to go a few days without it. Cold turkey. Take note as to what changes you see in your daily habits and if you do see a drastic difference, maybe reflect as to why you're using it to being with? Do these platforms bring us joy or peace or happiness? If not, why are we letting them be so influential in our daily lives? We choose how we live our lives, and we shouldn't let societal trends control us anymore.