How is TikTok overtaking high schoolers social media screen time?

Yelnur Abdushev

Have you ever found yourself in public, only to find yourself walking past a group of people dancing in front of a phone? If your answer is yes, this trend is related to the popularity surge with the app Tik Tok.  


In the beginning of August, the Chinese social media platform TikTok, overtook Facebook as the most downloaded social media app in the world. It currently holds first place on the App Store, beating Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. 


TikTok started gaining worldwide popularity in 2019 as people discovered all kinds of content ranging from dance videos to household cooking recipes. During the pandemic, TikTok saw roughly an 180% growth in users. Most recently on September 27th, TikTok reports it now  has over 1 billion active users, a quarter of the demographic being  teenagers. An average user spends 52 minutes on the app a day. What does that mean for a high school student’s usage of other social media platforms?


There is a 1% decline in instagram engagement. This may be due to the fact that students are directing part of the time they spend on Instagram to TikTok. The format of TikTok app plays a big role in attracting new users. It’s a space where people can share their problems, memories, and everyday lives. People happen to find more in common with people on TikTok than influencers on Instagram. 


Several WESS students shared whether they watch TikTok.


Junior Mirella B. doesn’t have the TikTok app, but she watches TikTok videos on other social media apps.  “I don’t have the TikTok app, but I watch TikTok videos on instagram. I never downloaded the app because it’s addictive. For some reason I find the videos interesting and entertaining.”


Junior Claudia Lin doesn’t use TikTok more than other apps. “I watch TikTok because I find it entertaining, because of the short videos that are sometimes funny. The videos are entertaining because they can be about any topic and they are random.” 


Personally, I use TikTok twice as much as Instagram. In TikTok I can find funny stories, creative ideas and random things that interest me. I use Instagram mostly to communicate with my friends and see their stories. I believe that the popularity of a social media app is determined by people’s interest. While TikTok is popular now, people’s interests may change and a new app may overtake TikTok.