TikTok Runs the Clock: Students react to the negatives of social media


Julia Meyers

Sophomore Grace Alford opens up her home screen to click on her most used app: TikTok.

Elaina Gibson and Julia Meyers

After noticing his use of TikTok taking a toll on his grades and time management, sophomore Elier Perez gave it up for the 40 days of Lent only to redownload it again.

In response to the unfavorable effects of social media on teenagers’ mental and physical health, Perez decided to delete the app. He did this in hopes of reversing some of the damage he has felt from social media while also attempting to make better habits. 

“I see how over time my screen time has gone up and as a result, I spend less time doing other activities,” Perez said. “I’ve noticed that I don’t find time for my schoolwork, which means my grades have gone down.” 

Grace Alford’s screen time helps her manage the amount of time she spends on social media and make changes to increase her mental health. PHOTO| Elaina Gibson

Some parents play a role in how much their children are on social media. Sophomore Clare Hansen’s parents have seen the detrimental effects of social media, so they limit her through an app to 10 minutes of Instagram and one hour of Snapchat a day.

“My parents have seen the statistics on how social media increases eating disorders, anxiety and depression, so they don’t allow me to be on it for long periods of time,” Hansen said.

Sophomore Grace Alford said her mental and physical health have been impacted by the overuse of social media because of less time spent outside exercising. 

“My parents think social media is destroying my self-esteem,” Alford said. “I think it could have underlying effects on my mental health, but I can’t tell yet.”

From interviews TikTok seemed to be the most popular app gaining attention from almost all students. PHOTO| Julia Meyers

Art teacher Michael Long said he frequently talks with his freshman son about the use of social media and puts time limits on his phone. He especially knows how TikTok can drain valuable time due to his own experience with the app.

“I downloaded TikTok on a random Saturday, and then I realized I had spent four hours scrolling,” Long said. “I don’t like how hours of my life disappeared so quickly.”

Sophomore Eli Olsen’s parents think he’s mature enough to monitor his own screen time and put limits on his phone that he sees necessary. 

“I use a widget, and it has my screen time on it,” Olsen said. “So I just try to be really aware of it and keep it under three hours.” 

Staying off social media has its benefits, Perez said. During the time he deleted TikTok, Perez noticed he spent more time doing homework and had more free time. 

Sophomore Elier Perez gave up social media during Lent to try to form better social media habits. PHOTO| Julia Meyers

“On Sundays when I would break my fast from TikTok I noticed I wasn’t on it as much, and wanted to do other things instead,” Perez said. 

Despite students understanding how social media apps can hurt not only their grades but their mental health, they still want to keep it in their lives. 

“I redownloaded TikTok because I thought since Lent was over, ‘What’s the point anymore?’” Perez said. “Now, I see that my screen time is getting worse again.”

Alford said social media keeps her updated on what’s going on in the world. Olsen has used social media to find groups of people who have similar interests and talk with them online.

“When my dad and I were working on my car, we found a big Facebook group of a bunch of people that had the same car,” Olsen said. “ It was a cool community and we were able to help each other.”

Sometimes the negative side effects outway the good ones. Olsen said that despite the positives of social media he still limits his time to keep his priorities straight.  

“Being more present, and able to focus and complete tasks is the main reason I try to limit my time on social apps,” Olsen said. “Also the ability to build more of a connection with people is a major plus.”