Michaelson: I am Taking a Stand Against TikTok.

As soon as I finish this column, I am deleting the app. Let’s see how long this lasts.

by Gavin Michaelson

When I downloaded TikTok back in 2019, I saw it as a casual pastime. It was a harmless, comedic app that I didn’t really care for all too much. However, once the algorithm took hold, it was game over … for me. The app quickly consumed every moment of my life. Why would I do homework when I could be on TikTok? I may have a final to study for or a paper to write, but what if I miss something hilarious on my For You page? I guess you could say I had developed an addiction — and when the pandemic began, it only got worse.

As the pandemic began, TikTok became a form of comfort for me — something that would always be there whenever I needed a little escape (that and Animal Crossing, of course). Now, it has grown into an addiction that occupies all of my time, constantly misguiding me into an endless montage of the same thing over and over — and I cannot stop. No matter how hard I try to be a good student and focus on getting my work done, I am somehow always catching myself taking numerous hour-long breaks to complete a simple assignment that should take no longer than an hour. As someone who struggles with procrastination, TikTok has been both my best friend and my worst enemy. The app knows me so well, as any best friend should, but they also whisper in my ear, convincing me to do all the wrong things.

As much as I enjoy watching thousands of videos of people making Emily Mariko’s viral salmon rice recipe or whatever other trends are on TikTok, I’ve decided that enough is enough. This app has taken over my life for far too long, and something needs to change. So, I have decided, with a heavy heart, that I must part ways with an algorithm that knows my every thought before I even have them myself. TikTok has made up more of my personality than I would like to admit. And, of course, it has provided me with videos that have demolished my sleep schedule for yet another semester.

While writing this, I have checked TikTok three separate times. As much as I’d like to argue that it’s just because I am writing this, that is definitely not the case. Even when I am not thinking about TikTok, it has become routine to check the app, because what better way to procrastinate on yet another task? I have tried everything. I have put timers on the app and even put my phone across the room when I need to get something done. Somehow, my phone always ends up back in my hand and I am back in bed scrolling through for hours on end.

I have been telling myself I would delete TikTok for months, and now I am finally holding myself accountable. I will no longer allow myself to be consumed by an app that has become the first thing I open when I wake up and the last thing I close out of before I go to sleep at night. As we quickly begin to near the end of 2021, and as midterms begin, I want to hold myself accountable and make positive, healthy changes in my life — and I think this is a good first step in the right direction. So with that being said, I have officially deleted TikTok from my phone. Hopefully, I am strong enough to resist temptation and keep it this way, because suddenly, I feel relieved.