The Doubts About TikTok
Everything is true that you see on the internet, right?

When school began again after the covid shutdown, TikTok spurred a weird trend. Boys (mostly) were stealing items from the bathrooms of middle and high schools—and filming themselves doing it. Items like soap dispensers, toilet paper dispensers, even bathroom doors. I know this to be true because the teens in my church constantly complained about not being able to wash hands and other bathroom necessities because of these “stupid TikTok videos.”

Us adults may be asking such reasonable questions such as “How?” How did they get that bathroom door out of the school? I know from my local schools which I subbed at for 27 years that there are security cameras outside of the bathroom doors that are used to check on who entered the bathroom at the time of a fight. Couldn’t those cameras see a soap dispenser in someone’s hands?

I have no answers. I just know that my teens complained about this for months.

But that’s not all. At the same time there was the trend of high school boys pooping on the stairs or in the hallways. Pooping! And filming themselves for TikTok! I know this to be true because my teens have also complained about this and the teachers in my church know the names of the many students who have been suspended for this.

Teens have historically done dumb things. This is a part of adolescent development and brain growth and why the laws of the land protect them. But this may be the lowest of lows for the dumb things that teens do. Would you have ever pooped and filmed yourself pooping and posted it to social media while you are in school?

I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence. 40 years of youth ministry has led me to write this sentence.

Gen Z’s favorite app is a platform meant to attract and celebrate niche communities and their content. With the use of a hashtag, everyone can find “their people” in TikTok and learn all the things that they aren’t finding answers to from the adults.

Because everything is true that you see on the internet, right?

Witchtokers are now warning about the dangers of TikTok.

An active community on TikTok is manifestation videos. As in if you speak it, generally matched with a sound that is intended to go viral, you can manifest it, especially if it is shared a lot. The promises usually relate to money, finding a romantic partner, and generally “good things” happening to the person who re-uses the video.

The gimmick is obvious. By making manifestation seem as quick and easy as uploading a video on TikTok, the hopeful viewer helps the sound go viral, thus adding to the promise that this is a legitimate life hack to achieve all your dreams in less than two minutes of upload time.

If only…

WitchTokers are now speaking out against this practice because it is a complete corruption of their manifestation practices. Something to which they very much believe in. A 2-minute video with a sound is not that practice. Source.

Everything is true that you see on the internet, right?

There is something way more dangerous happening with ADHDTokers. There is a whole community connecting those with ADHD and those who think they have ADHD. They are finding understanding together–and medical startups ready to offer them Adderall.

With a 15-minute telehealth phone call with a nurse practitioner you can be diagnosed with ADHD and get your prescription. The medical startups ads are prominent in these feeds.

Of course, Adderall is one of the prescription medicines that is being abused and sold. Of course, 15 minutes isn’t long enough to figure out if something as complicated as ADHD is truly ADHD.

Thankfully major pharmacy chains have stopped filling prescriptions from some of the most prominent ADHD telehealth services. Source.

Because everything is true that you see on the internet, right?

TikTok is providing a place of belonging and education for the many secret thoughts inside our beloved teens. This is a real influence on their forming worldview. How do we as parents and human influencers compete against that?

By casting doubt that not everything in a short video is true. By having the honest and awkward conversations that can expose that doubt.

I personally do not have a TikTok account. I don’t think I need to be in the slimepit to be able to have these conversations. I do believe I need to be instigating the awkward conversations though. I trust the Holy Spirit a lot to give me those opportunities and then I take them every chance I get. I’m always looking for these opportunities. I recognize the awkwardness, trust the Holy Spirit, and start talking. Both the teen and I are grateful we had the conversation. As I also believe some teens do tend to avoid me here and there.

I know you don’t want to be avoided. Your teen’s closed bedroom door already has you feeling rejected. Still have these conversations. May I beg you to have these conversations? Please raise their doubts.

We have helps for you because this is so important, at least to this veteran youth pastor.

Try using your taxi drive time for these conversations.

Try this idea that teens like.

Try this free resource which this veteran youth pastor created over the years.


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