© 2020 Dr. David Simonsen Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.
So I did a thing, I downloaded Tik Tok. I had heard a lot about it from my kids and had seen it on other social media apps. I did it without telling my kids. I wanted to get more followers than them and not have them know it. I then wanted to surprise them to show them that I was cooler than them because I had more followers.
I did a couple short vids, got some likes and follows. Something started to not feel right as I was trying to come up with things to post. I didn’t post anymore and started to think more about this uneasy feeling I was having. I ended up deciding to delete the app after I realized a few things.
There is an unhealthy pressure to perform, flaunt yourself, do something outrageous, make something go viral, be offensive, prank someone, disrespect a friend or parent. This is not natural. In reality, life is pretty boring and average for most people. Creating 15 to 60 second vids require planning, repeated attempts over and over. People don’t just start dancing at random. This kind of pressure leads people to have increased stress in their lives which in turn leads to higher incidents of negative interactions in intimate relationships.
Its pretty evident through a variety of studies that there is a negative impact of social media on self-worth. It leads people to compare their lives to others. I have had clients as recent as last week saying they are a bad parent because they aren’t doing school like those they see on social media timelines. After seeing others tik toks, I started to feel that vague feeling of comparison myself. Can I be funny like that? Will I get likes like that other person etc…
One of the bigger complaints I hear when I work with couples is that people spend too much time on their phones. This time on the phones distracts from emotionally intimate talks and time spent together. Tik Tok is all phone based. Setting up your phone, planning your video, erasing, re-recording all take time. Tik Tok takes time away from your partner or your kids. Time that could be much better spend creating secure intimate connections with your tribe.
If life has taught me anything, it’s that everyone has unique relationship issues in their lives. What Tik Tok shows you is a largely fake picture of a person’s life. People aren’t always dancing, smiling, pulling pranks, smiling and hugging. They can act happy AND be hiding their depression. They can laugh AND be hiding their tears. They can seem like they have it all together AND facing a divorce. This curated frame of a persons life does not mirror the person they in reality are. I firmly believe that the more authentic a person can be the happier they will be in their relationships.
You don’t have to delete Tik Tok. Yet, if you identify with any of these things above maybe you should consider it. It will free up your life a bit.