Stuck in an endless scroll? We’re here to help.
It’s easy to get sucked into TikTok for many reasons. The platform’s short-form content invites users to ‘binge’ on videos and even creates a collection of videos tailored to your taste on your FYP (For You Page), meaning there’s a full menu of content just for you whenever you open the app. There’s next to no effort required on your part, other than to flick your finger every now and then to jump onto the next vid. It’s simple, extremely engaging, and highly addictive.
TikTok – The Ultimate Time Killer
How many times have you found yourself in a TikTok hole? Half an hour to kill while you’re waiting on the bus? TikTok. Heading to the loo for, err, a number 2? TikTok. A quick blast of videos in bed before going to sleep? TikTok.
Before you know it, you’re hours-deep into sassy emu videos and the latest dance trends. You’ve scrolled your way through a mega pile of content, it’s 1am in the morning, and you’re kicking yourself for not putting your phone down earlier.
The bottom line? Overuse of TikTok, or any social app, can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health. If you’re worried about how long you spend on TikTok or are concerned you might be addicted to the app, read on.
Finding A Healthy Balance
You can reduce how much time you spend on TikTok by making some simple changes. Set yourself dedicated TikTok time each day – you may decide to only use the app between 7pm-8pm, for example. It can help to put your phone away while you’re not using it to help you resist the temptation to hop on TikTok. Try to give yourself phone-free time throughout the day. Start small – you can try going without your phone for 30 minutes – and cope with anxious feelings by keeping yourself busy or practising breathing exercises. You can then build up your time, little by little, until you feel comfortable being without your phone for hours.
You could also try taking a complete break from TikTok – remove the app from your phone and replace the time you would’ve spent scrolling with a healthier activity. You could ask a parent to keep it for you, if you think you might be tempted to turn it on and start scrolling. You could meet up with friends, read a book, walk the dog or play a sport.
For more advice on giving yourself a break from your phone, click here.
Am I Addicted?
If you find it extremely difficult to reduce your TikTok time, this may be a sign that you’re addicted to the app. Sign you may be addicted to TikTok could include:
- Feeling anxious, irritable or nervous when you can’t use the app
- Using the app when you should be doing other things like work or sleeping
- Lower self-esteem
- Using the app for longer time periods than you intended
- Losing interest in other activities
- Experiencing cravings to use the app
If you can relate to these feelings and are finding it difficult to reduce or completely stop your use of TikTok, you may need support to help you break the habit. We usually become addicted to something because it makes us feel momentarily good. It could release stress or deliver a quick boost of pleasure. Usually, however, these feelings are short-lived and are replaced with feelings of guilt, and frustration, which only makes us feel more stressed and anxious. Addiction is a vicious cycle and that’s what makes it so difficult to break free, but it can be done.
The first step to dealing with any problem is to talk about it. Speak to a parent, teacher or adult you trust about how you’re feeling and ask for their help. It’s important to understand that changing habits takes time, and that you will need good people around you to help you through this difficult period in your life.
You might relapse from time to time and feel as if you’ve let everyone down or are back to square one, and this may leave you feeling ashamed or frustrated. This is very common so don’t beat yourself up. Look at what happened to lead you to this relapse and make some changes to help if you feel tempted again in the future. There’s no shame in picking yourself up and trying again.
For more advice about dealing with addictions, click here.