(NewsReady.com) – TikTok has become a powerful force in social media apps. Sixty-seven percent of teenagers have used it, and 16% of them use it regularly. A new report indicates many kids are turning to the social media platform for mental health help.
More teens are turning to @tiktok_us in an attempt to get mental health advice. Dr. Barbara Robles from both @UTHealthSA and @UnivHealthSA says that isn't the best idea, and offers her advice on what children and parents should do. pic.twitter.com/Eu1P30UzQL
— Jeremy Baker (@JeremyBKENS5) February 28, 2023
According to a CBS News report, teens are turning to social media to diagnose serious mental health problems. They are using it as they would Google, by plugging in their symptoms and then listening to testimonials from others their age.
Samantha Fridley, 19, told reporters that after years of suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and therapy, she started to feel as though there wasn’t any treatment for her. TikTok changed that for her, but she said it took her down a rabbit hole. She said the TikTok algorithm was diagnosing her with all sorts of things, like borderline personality disorder and ADHD. She began losing sleep because she was trying to diagnose herself.
In October, The New York Times published a similar report. Kianna, a 17-year-old, told the newspaper that when her mental health began declining, she turned to TikTok. After watching videos, she diagnosed herself with depersonalization disorder. After seeing a psychologist months later, she learned she didn’t have the disorder. She was just having a difficult time adjusting to remote learning.
Both reports were clear that one of the problems with teenagers self-diagnosing based on random TikToks is that they are getting it wrong. Dr. Michael Rich, who leads the Digital Wellness Lab at Boston Children’s Hospital, told CBS there needs to be quality control when teens go to influencers for medical advice.
TikTok released a statement promising to remove misinformation that can hurt people. The company encourages people to seek professional help.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of self-harm, please call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Help is available 24 hours per day.
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