Let’s Tok About This

How TikTok influences trends in teens’ daily lives.

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Current trend of TikTok’s trending page on the app.

Waking up to your alarm, it’s 6:45 a.m., and the first thing you do is check social media on your phone.

Social media plays a big role in teens’ everyday lives. It is proven to be addictive. It also influences the decisions we make. Despite the bad rap that social media often gets, following social media-influenced trends can help people to find themselves and the things they enjoy.

Ella Sharpe, a sophomore at Triton High School, reflects a bit about how trends have affected her life. “I want to follow after things that I can improve myself on,” said Sharpe. “I want to be more of myself and I feel like a lot of trends help me be who I am.”

TikTok may be the trendiest trend that influences trends out there. As of June 2020, according to Statista, about 32.5% of TikTok users are teens. According to ‘The Teen Brain,’ a Harvard Magazine article, teens are easily influenced by their environment leaving them more prone to impulsive behavior. 

Although Tik Tok itself is a trend, it is also one of the biggest platforms allowing ideas to be created and spread. Sharpe had said she usually uses Tik Tok to find her inspiration. Other applications like VSCO as well as movies influence her, too.

Trends make up a large part of our everyday lives. It helps make up a person’s style, appearance, and even personality. Teens, while figuring out who they are and what they like, are influenced easily into following them, and they can stick with them for the rest of their lives. 

Some of the most popular trends for teens are: dyed hair, baggy clothes/ 80s and 90s inspired clothing, and thrifting, and then applications like Tik Tok leading movements like body positivity, politics, and the fight against toxic masculinity turning them into a trend to bring awareness to them. 

Will Sayles, a junior at Triton High School, elaborated on a few of his favorites. “I’m a big plant person. [I like] crystals, I like going to the crystal store,” Sayles said. 

Those were inspired by TikTok, and although they may not be the ‘hot stuff’ to everyone, it is still a smaller trend that teens could find themselves attracted to.

However, Triton freshman Anna Webb, finds herself more attracted to the mainstream trends. “I changed my style of clothes because of TikTok. I used to wear skinny jeans and now I don’t,” Webb said. Adding to this, she said she prefers more baggy-style pants now.

According to Drake Magazine, baggy clothing was big in the 90s. However, it is back in style and expected to stay. It has allowed people to feel comfortable in their bodies and the clothes they wear. 

TikTok has also been one the biggest applications for promoting self confidence. Through trends and the algorithm that TikTok uses to attract users, videos someone would see on their ‘For You page’ (an endless series of videos recommended for you) are dedicated to the idea of being comfortable in your own skin. 

Social media is known for portraying unrealistic standards, and it can be a toxic place. Plus, there’s the risk of spreading misinformation. Tessa Darke, a freshman at Triton High School, noted it as well. 

“You have to make sure they’re correct, because sometimes people don’t know what they’re talking about,” said Darke in relation  to whether or not she would consider TikTok educational.

An article written for Her Campus, an online magazine at UCLA dedicated to empowering women, mentioned that TikTok is very educational, inspirational, influential, and supportive compared to other social media platforms. 

However, Her Campus had also mentioned that it can be addictive. Webb adds to this, claiming her daily screen time for TikTok is well over the recommended amount of screen time total. 

“I spend way more time on my phone than I used to,” Webb said. I go on TikTok when I’m with my friends. I spend three hours, four hours on it every day.” 

Social media is now a normal factor of many peoples lives. Some depend on it, especially in an attempt to figure themselves out and the things they like. That is the power of social media.

“Social media in general is very influential,” Darke said. “It controls a lot of people’s [daily] decisions.”