Is TikTok making kids' anxiety, depression, and memory loss worse?
When people started acting strange, surgeons drilled these holes to release the evil spirits. The procedure was called “trepanation,” and they even did it to cows.
As recently as 1960, people were doing it voluntarily, spurred by pseudoscience claiming the procedure “enhanced mental power and well being” — presumably the missing faculties that would have precluded them from ordering the procedure in the first place.
Today, mental health professionals treat mental illness in a variety of less excruciating ways. And an increasing number believe a good deal of social media-induced anxiety, depression, and rage can be treated simply by eliminating their cause.
ByteDance, a China-headquartered company, is the parent of TikTok, whose CEO, Shou Zi Chew, the Congressional House Energy & Commerce Committee has summoned to testify, in person, on March 23rd. Unlike American corporate governance rules, new Chinese corporate governance rules permit the Communist Party of China (CCP), under the autocratic leadership of President Xi Jinping, to manage corporations on a deeply granular level. The arrangement stokes fear in American regulators, including the nearly half of states that have banned TikTok on government-owned devices. A growing number of college campuses also ban the app.
But, according to the Pew Research Center, some seventy percent of of U.S. teens use TikTok. E&C Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) announced Monday that she will also interrogate Mr. Shou about what the company is doing to address the impact of TikTok on children’s mental health, particularly the mental health of kids under the age of 13, whom the Children’s Online Privacy & Protection Act prohibits internet platforms from targeting.
Among these concerns about social media and mental health:
Kids’ use of TikTok correlates with anxiety, depression, stress, and memory loss
Is social media putting a figurative “hole” in our kids’ heads? Perhaps. But unlike the surgeons of prehistory who thought drilling holes in people’s heads would remove demons, no doctor in their right mind prescribes TikTok for dealing with mental health issues. But given the prevalence of social media even among us adults, are any of us in our right minds?