By: Marco Garcia and Christian Lee (Loyola Juniors)
It’s 10:30 pm and you have an important assignment due at 11:55 pm. You know you have to hunker down and finish it, but you just can’t stop scrolling through your TikTok “For You Page.” You tell yourself that it’s not a problem.
You’re only using TikTok to take a break.
This scenario begs the question, are students deluding themselves? Has TikTok had any good impact on university students or has it ultimately had a negative one?
Loyola Chicago is home to roughly 16,000 students. Of those students, it’s likely that about 82% of them frequent TikTok.
That’s no surprise. The fast media consumption characteristics of the app have led it to become highly successful.
Having such a large population, Loyola Chicago students offer good, varying insight as to how TikTok has impacted their lives.
21-year-old Loyola Junior Soha Meta said, “I think TikTok has made my life worse because it takes up all my time. I also see other people living their lives and I want to do all that but I’m stuck here doing homework. Why am I here and not in Spain?”
In addition to the adverse effects TikTok has had on time management and how they perceive their own lives, some students spoke on behavioral changes and habits that arose after using the application.
20-year-old Loyola Sophomore Rachel Moore said, “TikTok definitely has a bad impact on my life. I see all [these] things on TikTok and then I want to buy them… then I spend too much money – money that I don’t have.”
Assigning an absolute of “positive” or “negative” to the impacts of TikTok was not as clear cut to certain students, with some taking a more nuanced approach to the subject.
20-year-old Loyola Sophomore Krissy Vates said, “It’s been positive on the side that through my feed I can see that others are struggling in the same way that I struggle and this lets me develop a sense of community online. It can also have a negative impact in the sense it’s a very bad distraction; it takes me away from the real world.”
Vates wasn’t alone in feeling that TikTok was often a reflection of her real-world problems. In fact, to other like-minded individuals, the application seemed to directly affect their realities.
21-year-old Loyola Senior Kian Jodloksi said, “I think [TikTok has had] both positive and negative [impacts]. TikTok gives you what you want to see; the algorithm is designed that way. When I’m in a bad mood, TikTok will give me more things that will put me in a bad mood versus when I’m in a good mood, TikTok will also give me those good things.”
Ultimately, it appears that whether or not TikTok has been a positive supplement for students doesn’t have a black or white answer. With most students responding that they find TikTok to have a dichotomous nature.
As a result of the findings presented, one should ask themselves what impact has TikTok had on their lives – the answer is more personal than it seems.