Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown is taking a break from TikTok, and her return is not guaranteed. The 16-year-old star took Instagram to share a cryptic message after deleting her account. “Realizing that surrounding yourself with positivity is the happiest way of living!” she wrote. “No hate & only love ❤️ remember to be kind,” she wrote. Although the Spanish actress has not publicly revealed if her decision comes after receiving negative comments, other TikTokers had spoken about the growing toxic community within the video-sharing social networking service.
This month, Charli D’Amelio, the second highest-earning TikTok personality, according to Forbes, spoke during an Instagram Live about how some of her followers started saying that she “used to look prettier.” According to the 16-year-old social media star, the mean comments made her feel self-conscious and unhappy with her looks, but now she considers herself a confident person. “I guess it’s because I dye my hair,” she said. “That’s really the only thing that has changed about me except for the fact that I’m a lot more confident, which took me a while. So, I’m not going just to let people say that about me. I stayed quiet about a lot of things, and, honestly, it’s extremely frustrating being a teenager and just having to let millions and millions of people get to talk about the way I look.”
Undoubtedly, certain content on social media can heavily affect its users’ mental health — especially underaged students. According to a Pew Research Center survey, in 2018, U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 say they have a smartphone or access to one, making them more-persistent in online activities. In the survey, social media apps like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat figured as the most popular online platforms among teens; however, in October of the same year, TikTok became the most downloaded app in the US. In 2019, it became the 7th-most-downloaded mobile app of the decade, and the most-downloaded app on Apple‘s App Store, surpassing Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
The findings showed that social media is ubiquitous in a teen’s life, but most don’t believe it affects their lives. A total of 45% of teenagers believe social media has neither a positive nor negative effect on people their age, three-in-ten teens say social media has had a mostly positive impact, while 24% describe its product as primarily negative.