Dr. Aakash Ahuja | TikTok and Teens’ Mental Health

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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I wish to draw your attention to the recent passing of a bill by the United States House of Representatives, which aims to ban TikTok — an initiative I wholeheartedly endorse. TikTok’s detrimental impact on our youth, particularly high school students, cannot be overstated.

Teenagers, on average, engage with TikTok 19 times daily, underscoring its alarming addictive tendencies. Its algorithm adeptly serves short, captivating videos tailored to individual preferences, resulting in significant dopamine spikes, often referred to as “dopamine hits.” Extensive research demonstrates a correlation between heavy TikTok usage and increased risks of depression, anxiety and insomnia among adolescents. Moreover, it adversely affects attention spans, leading to diminished productivity and academic performance. Regrettably, valuable time that could be spent connecting with loved ones or focusing on studies is squandered on prolonged screen time.

Further exacerbating these concerns are the hazardous TikTok challenges, which not only demonstrate recklessness but also pose severe dangers. For instance, challenges prompting participants to hold their breath until losing consciousness are not only foolhardy but also potentially life-threatening.

In light of these troubling realities, I urge the school board members to actively discourage TikTok and similar platforms’ usage among our students. Prioritizing their well-being and academic success is paramount in mitigating the adverse effects of these digital distractions and fostering a healthier educational environment.

During the William S. Hart Union High School District board meeting on March 27, I presented these concerns, urging board members and Superintendent Mike Kuhlman to collaborate in disseminating the message to discourage TikTok and other social media platforms’ use among district students.

Thank you for your attention and consideration.

Dr. Aakash Ahuja

Valencia

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