Dear Crabby, Is TikTok Dangerous?

Dear Crabby,

Like a lot of people right now my family and I are addicted to watching TikTok videos. But recently I’ve heard on the news that it’s dangerous and that we shouldn’t use it. What do you think?

Thanks!
Alex A.

Dear Alex A.,

You know when I first heard the term ‘TikTok’ I couldn’t help but think of Captain Hook and that darn crocodile who ate his hand watch and all. But I guess that’s more of a ‘tick-tock.’ Then I heard the term ‘viral’ being thrown around and since we’re in the middle of a pandemic I started to get worried. Thankfully, some of my grandkids sat me down and explained the whole situation. So, between their first-hand knowledge and what I gleaned from Google, here’s the 411. Do kids even still say that?

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

First, TikTok started out as an app named musical.ly and it allows youngsters the ability to create and share videos with their friends. According to its website, TikTok’s mission is to be the ‘leading destination for short-form mobile video.’ Oh, and to ‘inspire creativity and bring joy.’ Well, I guess there’s a lot of creativity and joy in the world these days because the app has been downloaded over two billion times and has 800 million active users worldwide! More than one billion videos have been viewed every day in the last year and while most users are between 16 and 24, adults are starting to use it more (I guess they’re pretty bored too.). People have been creating funny lip-synch videos, dance videos, cat videos, and pretty much any sort of video that a person thinks will help him or her stand out to get more followers, likes, or whatever. But like all things these days, TikTok has become a political hot button topic, and I think that’s what you’ve been hearing about on the news lately.

The first time I heard about TikTok attached to anything political was when President Trump’s rally in Oklahoma didn’t quite turn out as his campaign hoped it would. The campaign posted a tweet telling supporters how to register for free tickets to the rally by using their smarty-pants phones. Supposedly, a bunch of TikTok users and K-Pop fans (that stands for Korean Pop) took that tweet and told their followers to register for the rally… and not show up. It’s hard to say if President Trump gave two hoots and a tinker’s darn about TikTok before that night, but he does now.

One of the main reasons the president isn’t a TikTok fan is because of its ties to China. He thinks China could use it to spy on U.S. citizens, spread misinformation, and just be generally disruptive. But the thing is, people have been free to TikTok in the USA since 2018. Shouldn’t we have sounded the alarm back then? And while we Americans love using the app, India is actually the country that uses it the most. Should we warn them to stop using it? I also feel like we’ve had this discussion before about privacy and who has access to our information. I mean, look at the number of people with smartphones, tablets, or pretty much any device these days. We like to believe our information is private, but I’m betting there is more out in cyberspace then we are comfortable admitting. And if you ask any question in your home that begins with ‘Alexa..,’ then how concerned with a potential breach, are you? Let’s face it, 2020 seems to be the dumpster fire we can’t quite put out, but I don’t know if we have to fear TikTok any more than anything else that’s been thrown at us this year. As always, use the brain the good lord gave ya and if something doesn’t sit right with you, then leave it alone.

To my readers, let me reassure you that you will never be subjected to any TikTok videos from me. I can barely work my VCR!

I hope this answers your question. Now go read a book.
Dear Crabby

 

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at [email protected].

Comments

  1. James F. Ahearn says

    Good advise especially at the end of the article.

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