If TikTok stands out for anything, it’s because of its ability to make videos go viral. It is not necessary to have many followers and the content to be very popular to reach the other side of the world and reach millions of views; Even if a user has hardly any friends on their profile, their video can reach millions of users’ recommendations. However, this platform also has another distinguishing feature: challenges (which, in addition, is one of the most popular content). Although talking about challenges brings to mind those that were quite dangerous, such as the blue whale, there are others that look for humor, but may have a background that is not recommended for little ones. This is how Arola Poch, psychologist, sexologist and expert in sex education for young people, describes the challenge of kissing a friend without his consent and recording his reaction.
The videos that join this challenge, which has been going on for about a year and is still going viral, are usually funny: a friend is at home with her best friend, and suddenly, without expecting it, she tries to kiss him on the mouth. But the reactions to be found are of all kinds: from friends who accept it and the situation becomes the beginning of something else, to others who suddenly turn away while being chased or clung to by the one who started it. While the two friends laugh in some of the videos, whether the kiss is accepted or not, anger is shown in others. “There are some who think it’s silly, but it’s not because it’s bypassed that consensus that there should be in all relationships and the values behind good sex education. In the kind of behavior that could be funny in the video, the background is incorrect,” warns the sexologist.
According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, located in Ohio (USA), with this challenge, “many teens don’t understand that forced kissing is a form of sexual violence. In some of the later videos, teens reported feeling confused, uncomfortable, and violated For those kisses without consent.”
For Luis de la Herrán, a clinical psychologist, “If a 12-year-old teenager watches a video of this type and knows that reference adults take their relationships seriously, so there are boundaries they can’t cross and there’s trust, intimacy, etc. That, that would affect him, even if he was 9 years old, he would say ‘that’s not right’ and he wouldn’t. He would clear it up because he had the prior learning model.”
The learning model and values that adolescents acquire at home and at school are essential for them to interpret in one way or another what they see on social networks. As the psychologist explains, the cerebral cortex, which deals with the critical spirit or planning, is the last part to mature in adolescents, which makes this control and accompaniment all the more necessary. “The key is how we prepare our teens to be able to face this content. The rain analogy occurs to me: If you go out in the middle of a storm in summer clothes, you will definitely get wet. If the rain is a negative thing, it will hurt you. If they teach us to wear boots, a raincoat and an umbrella, We’ll be the best protection,” he explains.
Added to this need, in Arola Poch’s opinion, is the need for education about sexuality. He says that as a result of the song “This monster ain’t my boyfriend,” which was made famous by an ad for the Netflix series Stranger Things, “some users pulled out a condom and said, ‘This monster ain’t my boyfriend. Funny as that might sound, it could go viral, and it’s ultimately what You look for it in this kind of video, but the message being conveyed is quite harmful. We must not forget that they are teenagers, that they are pranks, but that takes hold and is hard to control.” Hence, he advocates the importance of countering it with good sex education. He insists that “sometimes with some grace and some song ideas that aren’t the most appropriate”.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital also discussed a challenge called “Iknowsomethingyoudont,” which featured videos joking about secrets, including relationships, or making references to stalking Or harassment on social networks from one member of the spouses to the other to obtain information about their past relationships through their profiles. Another, called #deviouslicks, something like ‘devil burglaries’, ended many acts of vandalism in American schools, but also included challenges such as kissing a friend’s girlfriend, showing one person’s genitals or touching another person’s chest. In this case, TikTok has blocked searches for this hashtag, so that regardless of the user’s age, they can no longer find videos related to the challenge.
Among the measures TikTok implemented when it became popular were Family Sync, which allows parents to link their accounts to their children’s account, decide whether they can perform searches, manage minors’ account privacy, prevent private messages from strangers from reaching them, and activate restricted content mode so that videos are not recommended to young people. which may not be appropriate.
If the teen in question, when creating their TikTok account, puts their real age between 13 (the minimum age to use the app) and 18, there will also be searches they won’t be able to make, such as “sex”, “sexy” or “naked”. , according to the rules of TikTok. The problem is whether or not the teen has indicated his real age because it is as easy to fake as entering another date of birth. It depends on the will of the young person and the supervision of parents or guardians.
However, with all available measures, teens can find themselves not with content that is inappropriate for their age, but with any video with unwanted background, but this does not violate the platform’s community rules, for example, because it is not explicit content. As the experts consulted insist, this background masks the humor or masculinity inherent in the videos uploaded by both teens and adults.
“I’m a strong advocate for the fact that teens have standards, that if a boy or girl is taught values like empathy, respect, equality, by watching a video, they won’t suddenly forget all those values. And they’ll be able to understand what works for them and what doesn’t. It doesn’t mean That with such popular and viral content, there are no people falling for it, because at that time in life the strength of the group is important, as well as the feeling of acceptance and popularity that social networks give, ”explains the sexologist.
This sense of belonging brings calm to the adolescent, according to Luis de la Hiran. “Surprisingly, at this point in the film, we find many manly behaviors at a very young age, which seem to be normal. I think the contribution we can make from psychology is to say: What do we adults do with that?
If a teen spends many hours connected to screens, “we compare half an hour of learning at dinner Monday to Friday, where parents provide a model, one hour of sex, half Tik Tox Macho and three more from more internet. If at the same time we do not show him ways to deal with it, we have a greater chance that he will end up thinking that it is normal, ”explains the psychologist, who gives an example of this, when they are in a relationship, when the friend asks the young woman about her mobile phone And asking whoever he’s been with or asking him to block other boys on his social networks, if there’s no other valuable learning, he’ll see it as something normal.
It is precisely the type of content that is seen a lot on the platform: reactions about the behavior of a jealous friend, challenges to test the couple … Some may approach the topic with humor, but in many cases it is about the content and the reactions that are real. One of the recurring problems is how looking at a couple’s mobile phone reveals infidelity.
Here I see some ideas about what healthy relationships are not unpacked. Behind these ‘let’s see how they act out of jealousy’ videos Exam That if he is jealous, he loves me. The idea behind it is that jealousy is a sign of love,” laments Arula Bok, who adds: “I think this happens more on TikTok because the average age is a bit lower, and it’s easier for messages to go viral.” Video clips and promotion of this type of videos and challenges.
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