The Point

TikTok and Eating Disorders

03/2/20

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John Stonestreet

Maria Baer

If your teens have a smartphone, they probably use social media. And if they use social media, they may very well have a TikTok account.

TikTok is an app that lets users create and share short videos. It’s huge – topping one billion downloads as of last year.

While its Chinese developers sell TikTok as a place to share light-hearted videos with friends and claim that all dangerous content is filtered, a recent Buzzfeed News article reports on an infiltration of videos on the app promoting eating disorders.

The name for this type of content: “pro-ana,” as in “pro-anorexia.” People – mostly young women – may post dangerous weight-loss how-to’s, or share videos of stepping on the scale, or of criticizing their own reflection in a mirror.

For parents, this is another reminder that our kids are surrounded by messages that commodify bodies, and they’re incredibly vulnerable to the power of suggestion. Learn about TikTok from our friends at axis.org, and then have a conversation with your kids.

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