LUBBOCK, Texas- As TikTok challenges to destroy school property and others continue to play out each month, one expert said it’s critical adults talk to young people about the consequences of social media use.
Lisa Low, professor of practice in Public Relations at Texas Tech University, said social media can have a powerful effect on how people behave.
“When you find yourself lost in TikTok for ten minutes when you actually meant to just check one thing, that’s very deliberate on their part,” said Low. “Dopamine is involved, you literally get addicted to engagement on social media.”
Low said the techniques social media uses to engage it’s users, are strong to influence anyone, regardless of if they’re a “good kid” or a “bad kid.”
“Everyone can be influenced,” said Low. “That’s why Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok and Snapchat are so very popular.”
Low said adult supervision and communication play an important role in helping young people make the smart decisions when it comes to social media.
“Just having conversations, understanding that it is a type of peer pressure,” said Low, “open and honest conversations go a lot farther than rules, restrictions and punishments.”
M.K. Lovell, a Texas Tech student, said the best way to first approach a young person about social media is with a kind perspective.
“[Parents can say], ‘hey, I know social media is a new thing but, ‘you’re smarter than this, instead of, “you’re dumb for participating in it,” said Lovell.
Naomi Pacheco, a Texas Tech student, said she urges younger Gen Z kids to think twice before taking on challenges that could get them in trouble.
“Just because someone is doing it on TikTok doesn’t mean they’re not getting in trouble for it,” said Pacheco, “They’re just showing it the initial moment and trying to get laughs out of it.”