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The student news site of Olentangy Liberty High School.

Patriot Press

The student news site of Olentangy Liberty High School.

Patriot Press

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Why I’m Off Of TikTok

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TikTok has become an app most of us can’t live without. The app has been downloaded on my phone since I got it in the 6th grade, it was called Musicl.ly at the time. The algorithm is known to perfectly craft unique For You pages that show people videos they’ll enjoy. Though TikTok is a great place for relatable content, recommendations, recipes, and news, it can become extremely overwhelming.

Not only does TikTok’s design contribute to “doom scrolling”, where a person scrolls on their phone for hours with no actual enjoyment, but it also floods a person with what I would just call things. Makeup you need! Clothes you need! Brands you need to check out! Movies and shows you need to watch! Books to buy! Hobbies to do! Foods to eat! Products, activities, and lives of people you’ve never met. Not only does this breed jealousy because a person can never find the time or energy to be able to do all of these things, but it also replaces the concept of necessity with a false meaning that describes desire and frills. I felt like I was always missing out and that I always needed something else, when in reality I’m forgetting what I actually like and enjoy. 

After feeling like this for a couple of months, I realized the app was stressing me out at the same levels it was entertaining me. My last straw came right after Christmas when I saw a video titled “How to achieve the ‘Frazzled English Woman’ aesthetic” where a girl describes the makeup and clothing needed to emulate actors like Julia Roberts, Keira Knightley, and Renee Zellweger. She tells the people watching to have their makeup look messy in an intentional way, smearing on blush and concealer, little to no mascara, and matte lip color. You want to look cold and barely put together. Throw your hair up in a messy bun and add a big jacket and scarf to complete it. I nearly exploded with how stupid yet appealing it sounded, as does every micro trend on the app. I took it upon myself to offload the app and call it quits, let myself come to my own opinions, and find my own products and things I enjoy. So many great aspects of the app can become suffocating when not used in moderation, which nobody does with TikTok.

Almost a month later I haven’t gotten any urges to get back on the app. I stayed off of it for over 2 months last winter and it helped me immensely. It takes up so much space in the brain that breaks are absolutely necessary. In the summer of 2022, I traveled to Eritrea where I had no internet connection for a month, making my phone useless. I’ve never felt that clean and calm before in my life since I’ve been on social media for the past 6 years and on the internet for even longer. It’s hard not to desire a life like that, cut off from everyone and everything, and where so much of my time wasn’t spent in front of a screen of any kind, but that’s just not possible. The closest I can get to that is trying to limit my screen time and social media usage. 

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I was at lunch when I was told about a new micro trend on TikTok called “The Eclectic Grandpa Aesthetic” and I was fuming. Not only was it the idea of people becoming obsessed with another style (which is just recycled from the artsy aesthetics of the past), it was the style itself. “Eclectic” is nowhere near the right word for it, none of these clothes were curated throughout time from a variety of different places, they are commodifying the whole idea altogether and the style itself ranges from what I would call classic Pinterest looks consisting of boxers+white tee+sweater of some sort+loafer/clogs to the clothes Harry Styles and Tyler the Creator wear which consist of trousers+sweaters+blazers+various accessories+loafers. The inconsistency paired with the lack of truth to its name angered me. These eclectic grandfathers instead look like they forgot to put their pants on in the morning. What business do we have deciding to have built a personal style overnight? Clothes need to be bought over time in accordance with what you like, not bought all at once in the pursuit of a specific aesthetic. Trends like this are overwhelming and promote overconsumption with clothes that don’t last long due to not only poor quality but also lack of timelessness. A person may grow out of their interest in these clothes in less than a couple of months instead of incorporating them into their wardrobe for many years.

Overall, life without TikTok has freed a specific section of my brain which is susceptible to buying and wanting things I don’t need and sometimes don’t even like. I should be able to choose how I want to eat, dress, and act without people telling me the exact way I should do all of these things. The best way I can put this is that I can’t be in my “clean self-care matcha” era and my “rotting gluttonous messy girl” era and my “fashionable downtown photo-taking chic” era at the same even though that is exactly what I’m being told to do on the app, all lifestyles make me envious and are equally desirable. It is a conflict so unnecessary to have, taking myself out of that was the best thing I could do at this point in my life. Living life for yourself is something so taken for granted in this age of social media. 

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About the Contributor
Hannah Yacob, Staff Writer
This is Hannah's second year on the Cannon and Patriot Press staff. She is also in Yearbook. She enjoys baking, spending time with her friends, and listening to music. She has one dog named Onyx and 3 younger siblings. She works at an ice cream and coffee shop in Dublin. She plans to continue writing in college.

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