(Photo: Pexels / Pixabay) TikTok changes
TikTok announced it is implementing a new tactic that can help explain the negative effects of social media on mental health to its young users.
The new feature will be included in the platform’s Safety Center under the name “Well-Being Guide”. It will delve into various topics like eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and more. There will also be advanced search interventions and searcher display screens that can trigger for users.
TikTok’s touch on mental health
The new guide to wellbeing was developed in collaboration with Crisis Text Line, International Association for Suicide Prevention, Samaritans of Singapore, Live For Tomorrow and Samaritans UK, according to TechCrunch.
The guide will also encourage users to think about how it could affect them to share their mental health stories and struggles on a platform where they could go viral.
TikTok wants users to share their experience and interact with other users on the platform who are going through the same thing.
Also read: 5 Ways Social Media Is Promoting A Person’s Mental Health
The social media platform also added a short general memo on the effects of eating disorders. It is located in the subject area of the Safety Center of the app.
The memo was developed in conjunction with the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), which is working with social media platforms to ban ads promoting unhealthy weight loss.
In the past, TikTok directed users to multiple help lines when trigger words or phrases came up. Now the platform will share content from other creators to help those in need.
When a user searches for a potentially alarming phrase or word, the content becomes blurry and the user is prompted to sign up to see the search results, according to NewsBreak.
The changes TikTok made came after a 2019 study that showed that just three hours on a social media platform can have a negative impact on a person’s mental health.
Social media platforms are making changes
When TikTok unveiled its changes, its social media competitor Instagram received a backlash after the Wall Street Journal revealed documents from Facebook showing that it was doing its own research on the harm Instagram is doing to young girls.
Similar to TikTok, more than 40% of Instagram users are 22 years or younger. In the USA alone, 22 million young people log into the platform every day.
In the Wall Street Journal article, a 19-year-old user said that after searching for workout ideas, her exploration page was filled with weight loss pictures. Some posts even encouraged fasting.
The director of the eating disorders program at John Hopkins Hospital, Angela Guarda, said that her patients usually say they found out about dangerous weight loss tips on social media.
When TikTok launches its advice-sharing feature, it shows that social media can also be a positive resource. It enables people dealing with problems to learn from others who have had the same experience.
Despite the influence of social media, it still boils down to the users of the platform. Social media sites encourage people to think twice before posting as they don’t know how to influence others.
Even after Facebook hid the number of likes on Instagram, staff said it didn’t improve the overall well-being of users, according to the BBC.
While the revelations about the negative mental health effects of social media are nothing new, they are once again putting pressure on powerful platforms to look for ways to support their users.
Related article: Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
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Written by Sophie Webster
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