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The Impact of TikTok on Kenyan youth

Statistics from the 2019 Population and Census results indicate 75% of its 47.6 million people are aged below 35.

Thus, the convergence of technological advancements and the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increased dependence on smartphones.

While social media platforms have their merits, the emergence of TikTok has presented a significant challenge for many.

TikTok, much like the allure of a notification, has ensnared countless young individuals who find themselves captivated by an array of challenges and the allure of celebrities showcased on the platform.

This constant exposure has led to feelings of inferiority due to unceasing and endless scrolling.

The fear of missing out, often dubbed as FOMO, has exacerbated this situation. Moreover, the ever-present artificial intelligence algorithm continually suggests content, leaving many at the mercy of its relentless recommendations.

Numerous individuals confess to spending hours on end scrolling without a second thought about the passage of time.

What was intended to entertain has ensnared even the most productive individuals, diverting their attention from tasks meant to serve them.

While TikTok’s popularity surged during the COVID-19 lockdown when people were confined to their homes, the aftermath of this trend has lingered and infiltrated workplaces and daily lives.

Many acknowledge succumbing to the temptation of endless scrolling, driven by an irrational fear of missing something important should they cease.

Joy Wangeshi (pseudonym), a college student in Nairobi, highlights the impact on her life, stating, “TikTok is enjoyable and fun, but it distracts me from my responsibilities as a student. I hardly have any free time because I’m consumed by TikTok, neglecting other important tasks. Even when I’m with my friends, I find myself engrossed in TikTok.”

TikTok has not only intensified the habit of procrastination but has exacerbated it by promoting instant gratification, often leading to unproductive outcomes.

In conclusion, TikTok’s influence on the youth has raised concerns about productivity, diverting attention from responsibilities, and fostering a culture of constant distraction.

While it offers entertainment and amusement, its impact on academic, social, and professional aspects of life necessitates careful consideration in order to strike a balance between enjoyment and productivity.

This week, National Assembly Speaker received a petition from a Kenyan who suggested TikTok be banned in the country.

The petitioner cited explicit sexual content and hate speech as among the reasons to ban the social media application.

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