TikTok: The invisible danger of addiction – EU joins the fight!

Published On: 22.February.2024Categories: Legal2 min read
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Nora Wölflick writes about interesting, topical issues for the Love & Law Blog at Recht 24/7.

In a world where apps dominate our everyday lives, TikTok has taken on a special position – but not necessarily for the better. The European Commission is mobilizing against the video app, which is suspected of driving young users in particular into a dangerous addiction. This blog post sheds light on the background, risks and possible solutions to this controversial issue.

The pull of algorithms: More than just a pastime

TikTok, a virtual playground with over 1.5 billion active users worldwide, has come under EU scrutiny. The accusation: the app could be addictive, especially for young people. The comparison with drugs may sound extreme, but addiction experts see alarming parallels. The app’s ability to keep users glued to the screen for hours on end is viewed critically. The question is: how responsibly does TikTok use its power?

Dangerous likes: when recognition becomes a trap

The tragedy of twin sisters in Hamburg, one of whom lost her life while filming a risky video for TikTok, illustrates the dark side of the coin. The hunt for likes and recognition drives young people into dangerous situations. Addiction experts warn that the platform encourages behavior that is designed to stand out – with potentially fatal consequences.

A digital vortex: the mechanisms of addiction

TikTok manages to draw its users into an endless stream of videos like no other app. The so-called “rabbit hole effect” makes you forget time and fade away from reality. But what makes TikTok so different? The app presents content without active user intervention, unlike other platforms where the selection is more deliberate. The EU Commission also criticizes the lack of insight into TikTok’s algorithms, which makes research and regulation more difficult.

The search for solutions: Can TikTok be tamed?

Innovative approaches are needed to curb the addictive potential of TikTok. The app would have to implement mechanisms that encourage users to take a break from time to time. But the challenge is huge: the exact way the algorithms work is largely unknown. The EU Commission is calling for more transparency and opportunities for science to get to the bottom of phenomena such as “social media disorder”.

Conclusion: A wake-up call for parents, users and regulators

The EU’s lawsuit against TikTok could be a wake-up call that will make not only the app but also users and their families think again. It is high time we asked ourselves what price we are willing to pay for our digital entertainment. The discussion around TikTok opens our eyes to a problem that goes far beyond a single app: the need to re-evaluate our relationship with social media and develop healthier ways of interacting.