Let’s be real, 2020 was tough on all of us. The introduction to the new decade has thrown obstacles nobody could have foreseen. Entering the new decade with high hopes were then quickly diminished with ongoing events throughout the world. But through that darkness, a light emerged from the tiny screens of our phones.
While parents have expressed their concerns about online distance learning, the pandemic’s existing mental toll is undeniable. Students across the country have experienced a wide variety of emotions due to the complex basics of remote learning.
Because of the lack of extra support, even an average homework workload can be challenging to complete. With motivation slipping and fatigue conquering the mind, school success has been drifting further from reach for many.
One such student is Jacob Yuryev, a freshman at Carlmont High School, who has dealt with the transition into high school and online learning.
“There’s a lot of homework. My time is really full, and it feels like I’m constantly doing homework even though I’m actually not,” Yuryev said. “Because of that, I procrastinate a good amount because it’s stressful to think about all the things I have to do.”
Yuryev’s perspective is one of many. In an informal survey taken by 100 students, mostly from the Bay Area, an overwhelming 84% said yes that remote learning had exhausted them mentally. Students struggling with mental health caused by the virus’s hardships can find themselves using TikTok’s humorous videos to balance the bad. A surprising 72.7% of these students believe Tiktok has aided with the lethargy provided by the pandemic.
Sophomore Alexander Sandin said, “Tik Tok is similar to video games; it helps you to not think about what’s going on in your life at the moment. It distracts you and makes you happy.”
TikTok is a worldwide used app launched in 2016 and used by more than 150 countries containing over 2 billion downloads. The app is commonly known for the wide range of content appealing to all ages, 62% of users being between 10 to 29. Because of its popularity, it’s marked No. 1 for entertainment on the iOS App Store.
Braxton Rodamaker is a sophomore at Sequoia High School and downloaded TikTok last year. Rodamaker enjoys the app’s format, making it one of his primary entertainment sources when he’s bored.
“The platform is similar to YouTube,” Rodamaker said. “But it’s quicker and gets to the point faster. I find it a great platform to use because it doesn’t take as long, and they have some great videos.”
Even before the pandemic, TikTok was doing well, and its popularity has been steadily increasing. In the first quarter of 2020, TikTok had the best quarter of any app ever because of its 315 million additional downloads.
The app’s content can range from self-expression to cute videos of little furry friends. The app ultimately targets universal interests that will make viewers happy. Even an existing hashtag focuses on that goal: the hashtag #serotonin has 181.6 million views showing that viewers use TikTok to up their mood.
Serotonin is a biological chemical that nerve cells produce. When serotonin levels are normal, one is less anxious, happier, calmer, and more emotionally stable. While some causes for these benefits would be exercise, sunlight, and meditating, some TikTok creators tried stimulating serotonin through videos that would attract happiness. Viewers can find these videos by searching #serotonin on the app.