TikTok opponents deem it a U.S. security hazard

It has been a debate for the past few years on whether TikTok should be banned in the United States. The online social media platform gained immense popularity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and has since grown in users.

Concerns about TikTok have risen from its parent company, ByteDance, being based in China during a time where U.S.-Chinese relations are unstable. The U.S. is worried that the Chinese government may be collecting data from American TikTok users.

The issue with this debate is that there are too many people to consider in order to make a drastic decision between outright banning the app, or not. Perhaps the focus should not be on banning the app but on restricting it.

Sure, TikTok can be harmful when it comes to losing track of time during those endless scrolling sessions or when a community on the platform supports a toxic stance, but that can be said for any form of social media that exists. TikTok actually helps a lot of people, and banning it would alienate those people from communities that help them feel involved.

TikTok can help people access assistance with mental health that they potentially could not reach before due to various different reasons. Finding mental health help is hard between having availability to sit down with someone for sessions or the actual process of finding an affordable therapist.

Mental health advocates and professionals have taken to TikTok to share advice on how to handle mental illnesses for those who cannot access help easily, allowing them to start adopting some useful tools to get through their week.

Plus, the feeling of isolation that often comes with mental illness can be less of a burden as people who struggle with similar symptoms connect and discuss how they handle them.

TikTok’s offers a nearly endless array of animal videos, which are perfect for bringing cheer to a gloomy day. Photo by Peyton Bortner

TikTok can also help people find assistance with other issues. I follow a lot of animal accounts and hashtags, so I see videos all the time of people asking questions about animal care. The amount of people who comment and try to stay updated with each other’s pets really solidifies that feeling of community, no matter where people are.

I personally had to use TikTok for animal help once. I had a betta fish who was suffering from fin rot, so I posted a video asking people for advice, desperate to help him. I received so many helpful comments from other betta fish owners about treatments that worked for them.

I understand we still have other social media platforms, of course, but they aren’t perfect either. Instagram and Twitter have been going through some changes lately that have left users wondering if they should continue having the platforms, like paid subscriptions to have profiles verified.

I am someone who often has bouts of nausea that keep me up for hours during the night. I use TikTok to help get me through it. The videos keep my mind occupied with content while I wait for the nausea to pass. I also use it to post videos of my pets to have memories to look back on eventually.

Banning TikTok would harm a lot of people. However, if there were restrictions on the parent company, then perhaps we could continue to use TikTok while feeling safe. As of right now, it has been said that Shou Zi Chew, TikTok’s Singaporean CEO, is supposed to testify before Congress at some point within the next month. Hopefully, the issues will be resolved at that time.

Until then, I’d say just keep having fun on TikTok. Enjoy the funky trends and post your videos, just keep a close eye on how much you’re scrolling.



Featured photo courtesy of cottonbro-studio, Pexels