Is Tik Tok Killing Our Attention Span?


TikTok has over 14.4 million daily active users Image taken from pexels under the creative commons license.

Jedidiah Perez

Imagine you’re a senior in high school, and you have a test that you have to study for. You put in 20 minutes of undisturbed time into your studies until you receive a notification that one of your friends has posted on TikTok. Curiosity gets the best of you, and you immediately tap on the notification, which releases a dopamine spike. You see a really funny ten second video of your friend and then you swipe down to see more. Before you even realize, two hours have passed and you’ve jumped down a rabbit hole of funny memes.

According to, 59% of the world’s population uses social media equating to 4.76 billion people, as well as 137 million new users joining social media over the past 12 months.  It’s very easy to realize why social media as a whole gets so much spotlight.

Again, imagine yourself hitting a home run for the first time. That feeling of achievement, and gratification brings pleasure to your mind. Any time a personal discovery has been made, the human mind is wired to release a chemical called dopamine, which is responsible for feeling that “high” in certain activities. Forbes magazine interviewed Dr. Julie Albright who compares social media addiction to gambling addictions also known as random reinforcement.

“It means sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And that’s how these platforms are designed … they’re exactly like a slot machine,” Albright states.


TikTok is an app made with an algorithm that is specified for viewer consumption. TikTok’s algorithm will show you more content similar to what videos you liked, using their “for you page” system.

At surface level, this may seem like a quality experience for entertainment, but the more you look into it, the darker it becomes. TikTok is an app for endless, quick and funny videos. It has been proven that the more quick, instantly gratifying content you see, the more likely you’ll be to stay on the app. After a year of this constant loop of gratification, your brain will crave it more, rendering longer forms of content to be labeled by your mind as uninteresting or a waste of time.


For years, apps have been gearing toward a more addictive experience. Whenever you get a “like”, a “follow”, or even when someone shares a post with you, your brain rises in dopamine, giving you a spike of instant gratification.
This is why most people are hooked on social media apps.

People across the world are in a constant loop of dopamine spikes from the minute they open their phones, being interested in their social media and diving into pointless entertainment to the point that they lose track of time. Then the cycle starts again.

Yes, future generations may be heading down an era of quick entertainment, and it could become a problem in the future. However, for now it’s too soon to tell, but hopefully the war on our attention span will subside for the better.