TikTok challenges severely hurting children, mental health experts say

TikTok challenges are severely hurting kids according to mental health experts. The social media platform is becoming more dangerous for preteens and teenagers, which makes it even more crucial for parents to monitor their kids’ digital life.

"TikTok is very harmful for our kids. I know it sounds dramatic, but it is like kidnapping our kids and taking their sweet little hearts and brains away, and it is not healthy," said Tessa Stuckey, who is a parent of four kids from eight to 12-years-old, and she is also a licensed therapist. 

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"It is a constant conversation in our house about the harms of social media and the harms of making choices based off of things like the Tiktok challenges," said Stuckey. "I have clients who have ended up in the hospital from Tiktok challenges, which is heartbreaking, and that is why I will not let my kids get on social media right now but definitely not Tiktok."

It is the right choice according to one mom of a teenager, who now works for a parental control app for children.

"For my own son, I let him have the app way too early. I wish I could go back and never introduce it to him in the first place. The addiction that results in the form of short form media, the dopamine hits- it is not healthy for kids," said Titania Jordan who is the Chief Parenting Officer for Bark Technologies. "They are gaining their confidence from likes and comments and follows and shares. Their whole reality in some cases, revolved around going viral. If it means doing something a little risky, they do not evaluate the risk and the reward ratio as adults do."


She says one option is Bark - an app that uses artificial intelligence to monitor your child.

"Our algorithms will analyze all of that content, not only keywords and text space media but emoji’s, photos, memes, audio. You name it. When our algorithm detects a problem, it will then send the parent or caregiver an alert saying here is a potential problem. Here is what you should know and here’s what you should do about it," said Jordan.

Some research shows how children are turning to Tiktok for answers over Googling.

Join us Tuesday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. Central Time on our Facebook Page and FOX26Houston.com live stream to find out more ways to protect your child from the dangerous of social media.