Tiktok made headlines with a leaked document on its algorithm. Media psychologist Stefan Caduff classifies its content.
Media psychologist Stefan Caduff doesn't believe that social media should be restricted any more.
It is much more likely that young users should receive better training.
This is what he says about a leaked Tiktok document.
Tiktok would like to keep its users on the platform for as long as possible.
This can lead to addiction symptoms for some users.
A media psychologist explains how to break out of the endless cycle of entertainment and boredom that social media platforms trigger.
A leaked, internal document from Tiktok this week gave insights into the platform's algorithm. It says that the company Bytedance, which is behind Tiktok, is particularly keen to keep the users of the platform on the platform for as long as possible and to combat the “problem of boredom”. Media psychologist Stefan Caduff from Sapia, a specialist institution in the field of media psychology and media education, classifies the leaked document.
Mr. Caduff, are you surprised by the contents of the leaked Tiktok document?
No it doesn't. For me this is in the expected range, because all social media platforms want to keep their users on the platform for as long as possible in order to sell as much advertising as possible. It's no different at Tiktok.
What does it do to users when they spend more and more time on platforms like Tiktok?
There are a few problems that can arise with this. If you spend a lot of time on one thing, other things like school, work, friends or family are left out. It is also problematic when people only spend time on a single platform, because then one moves in a very restricted circle. With Tiktok, in particular, you as a user get a demonstration of what the platform thinks is best for you and not like other social media content whose creators you follow. In addition, Tiktok is a Chinese company and it is known that the Chinese state has access to all data and also influences content.
Is Tiktok highly addictive?
All social media platforms are potentially addictive because they are attractive and readily available. Anyone who shares content and then receives likes feels good. But that doesn't mean you're addicted. But if you notice that only social media is fun and everything else seems less important, you should seek professional help. Even those who often feel bad after using social media should reconsider their use. If you want to be happy, you should delete your social media accounts, because there you usually only see the highlights of other lives and compare your own problems with a seemingly unattainable goal.
According to the leaked document, Tiktok wants to fight against boredom among users. Is it a social problem that we are too bored and cannot keep ourselves busy?
We make ourselves bored through digital media. When you consume media, your brain switches to consumption mode and you can be showered. If you switch off the medium, the brain is still in consumption mode and you feel the need to be entertained again right away. But if you wait 15 to 20 minutes, the brain switches to creative or activity mode. So it is important to bridge these 15 to 20 minutes and to be able to endure the boredom. I would advise everyone who struggles with their media consumption to take this step. The best thing to do is to just leave your cell phone at home or in your pocket, even if you just stand and wait at the bus stop.
Should platforms like Tiktok be more strictly regulated, for example with usage restrictions?
The problem is that one person can spend five hours a day on Tiktok and is not addicted and another person only one hour but an addiction develops nonetheless. The time factor alone is therefore not decisive. It is much more important to teach young people in particular media skills. And Tiktok isn't all bad either. Filming videos is also a creative activity – as long as it's not all about the likes and the celebrity.
Do you or does someone you know have a gambling, buying, online or other behavioral addiction?
You can find help here:
Sucht Schweiz, Tel. 0800 104 104
Play without addiction, self-test and information
Safezone.ch, anonymous online advice on addiction issues
Feel-ok, information for Adolescents
Center for gambling addiction and other behavioral addictions
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