Senate Passes Legislation to Ban Tiktok On All US Government Devices. Should We, as Users, be Next?

Showayane Wallace

On Wednesday, December 14th, the Senate, by unanimous consent, passed legislation to ban TikTok from all US government devices. A move made to limit security risks posed by the app, which has approximately “one billion active users spread across 154 countries,” says, making TikTok, “one of the most popular social media platforms as of 2022.”

As TikTok remains in the news, now for its potentially harmful effect on teens, it begs the question: Should this ban be nationwide?

As someone who regularly used the app and was opposed to the possible ban last year, I can see why it’s as popular as it is. Not only is it a place to have fun and a good laugh, but it is also one of the best ways to connect to others or see what’s happening in the world. However, according to a report on Wednesday from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, “TikTok starts recommending content tied to eating disorders and self-harm to 13 years olds within thirty minutes of their joining the platform.” That, plus the hate felt by many after joining the app, raises new concerns about its influence on young people and mental health. The minimum age for users in the United States, Britain, Australia, and Canada, is 13 years old.

The report found that once users viewed and liked content reflecting body image, or mental health, the app automatically recommended related videos every 39 seconds. A problem only made worse by the slang terms used by account holders to avoid moderation. The article, posted by the New York Times, highlights examples such as #EdSheeranDisorder, a tag used on posts about eating disorders. It also mentions the many weight loss and caloric restriction “tips” found on the app.

Mahsau Cullinane, a spokesperson for TikTok, pushed back by saying, “This activity and resulting experience does not reflect genuine behavior or viewing experiences of real people.” She says TikTok “regularly consults with health experts, removes violations of our policies, and provides access to supportive resources for anyone in need.”

TikTok, like many other social media platforms, has come under scrutiny for its effects on young people and mental health. However, unlike many social media platforms, TikTok is far more popular, overtaking Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube over the years. While there isn’t currently a widespread ban, we can’t ignore that there does need to be more transparency and oversight with both its users and parents’ as many are yet to understand how the app truly works.

Suicide is the world’s second leading cause of death for those 15-24 years old. According to, “nearly 800,000 people die by suicide in the world each year, which is roughly one death every 40 seconds.”

Help is available. If you know someone who struggles or needs emotional support, you can call or chat online with the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-270-TALK (8255).