Teens Consider the TikTok Ban

Two-thirds of U.S. TikTok users are teenagers.
Two-thirds of U.S. TikTok users are teenagers.
Jaycob Zabell

President Biden signed a law on April 23 to ban TikTok in the United States. Congress tucked the ban into a spending package providing aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

The legislation gives a nine-month deadline that could be extended by three months if President Biden determines progress toward a sale.

Republican representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, an advocate for the ban, argued that people need to delete TikTok because Beijing ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns it, is required to collaborate with the Chinese Government. The company can not just see your information but can also track location through the app. 

Democratic representative Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois also pushed for the ban.

“Our bipartisan legislation would protect American social media users by driving the divestment of foreign adversary-controlled apps to ensure that Americans are protected from the digital surveillance and influence operations of regimes that could weaponize their personal data against them,” Krishnamoorthi said.

TikTok shouldn’t be banned, as it is an entertainment resource for people all around the world. It allows people of all ages to create content that they enjoy and advocate ideas.

— Junior Kelsey Cohen

TikTok challenged the law in court on First Amendment grounds, and both the company and the U.S. Justice Department are asking the appeals court to hurry up and rule so that the legal questions can be resolved before the Jan. 19, 2025 deadline.

Most content creators reportedly don’t believe the ban will happen, while Tiktok is planning massive layoffs.

Many Beachwood students, however, don’t care about the security of their TikTok data.

“I am not concerned about the Chinese government knowing my information because I don’t know what they would do with it,” junior Molly Lewis said.  

Junior Kelsey Cohen is also not worried about the Chinese government. 

“I am not concerned because I know that the U.S. is working to prevent it,” she said. “Also, my information is not interesting”. 

Lewis and Cohen are among millions of American teenagers who use the app daily, and are not  bothered about the App’s role in the global conflict between the U.S. and China

Americans of every age use this platform with 170 million U.S. users, but two-thirds of users are teenagers. The app is a popular way for teens to share videos, while more adults use Facebook. 

TikTok is more than just an entertainment app. Users post information about almost everything, ranging from the weather conditions in places of the world to prom dresses to buy.

Putting aside the issue of data security, many  In the U.S. are conflicted about TikTok because some  think it’s a major distraction to their life while  others think it can be a good source of information and entertainment. 

“TikTok shouldn’t be banned as it is an entertainment resource for people all around the world. It allows people of all ages to create content that they enjoy and advocate ideas,” Cohen said. 

 Lewis agrees.

“I don’t think TikTok should be banned because through TikTok, people from all over the world can connect through all kinds of things,” she said.

Junior Hannah Yakubov wouldn’t mind seeing the app banned, although Chinese spying is not her concern.

“I think it should be banned because ever since I got TikTok my attention span has been really bad and I find it hard to focus on things for a while”. 

Although many BHS students don’t  want to see TikTok banned, they recognize that it is not a great source of factual news. 

“I don’t think that TikTok is effective for learning factual news,” Lewis said. “On TikTok, it is easy for the most interesting or crazy news to be spread to a lot of people, even if it’s fake.” 

“You never know if it’ll be factual or not because anyone …  has the power to spread misinformation online,” Yakubov said.

For example, there have been multiple hoaxes spread through TikTok videos falsely claiming that  Family Feud host Steve Harvey had passed away.

 In 2021, a  video falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccines were magnetic, causing some individuals to question and even refuse vaccination. 

People have also used TikTok to spread false and misleading information for political purposes, about everything from U.S. elections to  the war in Gaza.

I don’t think that TikTok is effective for learning factual news. On TikTok, it is easy for the most interesting or crazy news to be spread to a lot of people, even if it’s fake.

— Junior Molly Lewis

Nevertheless, both teens and adults continue to find the app useful for learning about a wide range of topics such as workout tips, cooking recipes and  studying habits

“My dad watches TikTok videos on how to cook certain foods and it makes me and our entire family happy cause the food turns out amazing,” Yakubov said.

Others find the app to be a good way to relax and unwind.

 “I enjoy TikTok because it is a way for me to relax and not think,” Lewis said. “I also enjoy TikTok because I get to hear people’s stories from all around the world.” 

“TikTok helps me mentally in a way because there are so many other teenagers my age that I can relate to on TikTok and that lets me know I’m not going through my struggles alone,” Yakubov said.

Many users would feel a real sense of loss if the app is banned.

 “I would lose TikTok drafts and good memories,” Cohen said.

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