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TikTok – where malicious trends are hidden

TikTok, a short video platform with more than a billion users, helps young people create content, but it is also a place to spread many harmful trends.

In mid-May, Tawainna Anderson, who lives in Pennsylvania (USA), sued TikTok after her 10-year-old daughter died while performing a challenge on social networks. She said baby Nylah took part in the “Suffocation Challenge”, which required players to perform a number of suffocating actions to fall into a state of temporary fainting. When they regain consciousness, they will share the video to the platform. Nylah was discovered lying motionless in her bedroom on December 7, 2021 and taken to hospital, but died five days later.

The lawsuit describes how she discovered the challenge through videos of viral trends that were suggested on TikTok’s For You page.

This is not the first time on Tiktok, there has been a trend to encourage users to harm themselves. According to New York Post, last August, the platform had to remove content containing the hashtag #milkcratechallenge. The challenge asks users to stack plastic milk cartons in a pyramid shape and try to keep their balance while climbing to the top, then step down without falling. In fact, most of the participants fell and many were injured in the process.

Several people were injured doing the milk carton challenge.  Photo: GetIndia

Several people were injured doing the milk carton challenge. Image: GetIndia

Before that, many other malicious trends also spread on TikTok, such as Veneer Vlog (sharpening teeth), Benadryl Challenge (taking a lot of allergy medicine to create illusions), Penny Challenge (plugging the phone charger into an electrical outlet, after drop a coin into the gap to create a spark), prompting experts and doctors to warn of the danger.

According to TikTok’s community standards report at the end of 2021, this social network has removed millions of videos of violations related to violence, pornography, self-harm… However, many malicious trends are still going. occurs over which the platform has no control.

Obsession with perfection

Not only are there harmful challenges, on Tiktok there are also a series of trends promoting unrealistic beauty according to stereotypes. Through video filters, TikTok creates perfect beauty for users such as big eyes, high nose, rosy cheeks, white skin… making them feel more beautiful.

Himani Jadeja, a content creator on the TikTok platform, told Bring Newspaper that video filters only increase racism, misleading many people as standard beauty, and stigmatizing people with distinct body features.

There is currently no adequate research on the psychological effects of photo and video filters on social networking platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat… However, according to Dr. Jasmine Fardouly at the University of New South Wales, when not reaching the standard of youth and beauty, many people find satisfaction on the application, gradually fantasize about themselves and do not accept reality.

Another trend that is considered dangerous is “That Girl”. The hashtag #ThatGirl currently has more than 1.3 billion views on TikTok, which calls on women to become “that girl” with habits such as getting up early, maintaining a beautiful body, eating well, and cleaning up. tidy life, then record a video and post it on TikTok.

However, over time, the trend gradually became toxic, creating competition, making participants physically and mentally tired. Forcing herself to have a perfect life, dream job, and beautiful appearance make many young girls very stressed, self-deprecating and self-loathing.

Minh Hang, 23 years old, a marketing worker in Hanoi and once participated in the challenge “That Girl”, said: “I joined because I wanted to push myself to be better. But after a while, I gradually fell down. In the stress when I go to Tiktok every day, I compare myself to that perfect role model.”

Show your body to be famous

Many TikTok users run after showing off their bodies to become famous. Page The Tab once warned about the “nake challenge” trend when many girls filmed scenes of stripping, naked in front of their lovers, friends, relatives… just to record their reactions. Earlier this year, the trend of lifting clothes and shaking hips in front of the phone screen was also implemented by many people and caused controversy in Vietnam.

Cao Van Dai (Hanoi) said that in the past he often lent his phone to his children to watch funny videos on TikTok. But as soon as he discovered the trend of showing off his body, he immediately deleted the app to limit his children’s exposure to such harmful content.

“For a young girl developing her identity, being caught up in such a toxic environment is incredibly destructive. When teenage girls are praised for their sexiness, they believe the price is worth it. Their value lies in their appearance,” says psychologist Paul Sunseri of El Dorado Hills, California. Ifstudies.

“As children and adolescents already struggle with issues of anxiety, social pressure and depression, we cannot allow social media to further damage our physical and mental health. them,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said when announcing a state investigation into TikTok earlier this year to determine the extent of the short-video platform’s impact on children.

Nguyen Hanh

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