The majority of TikTok users are currently studying be that in high school or university. This makes TikTok a somewhat undeniable potential tool for enhancing education. Many of the app’s users have perfected the art of making their videos go viral, which is enough of an incentive for students who can simultaneously become more creative with their ways of learning. Although TikTok is meant for socialising, it also presents itself as a great tool for creating engaging educative content.
A large percentage of TikTok users are teens and, according to a study, they tend to spend about an hour a day on the platform. With its short video content, the app is the perfect tool to use when looking to keep someone watching several videos within a short time. Keeping that in mind, a teacher can use video creations tools to create short, customised lessons for their classroom and post them on TikTok for students to watch later on. Compared to sitting in a classroom for forty minutes, TikTok videos can help captivate a student’s attention and thus improve their performance.
Many students post daily on TikTok, which usually means they have a large following on the app. It goes without saying that if a specific video’s content is considered boring, it will not get a lot of views or likes, but if it is found to be entertaining, then it will go viral in record time. When aiming to create a viral video, TikTok users push their creative boundaries in order to come up with something viral-worthy.
Some students combine several trends into one while others find inspiration in their surrounding environment. This level of creativity helps their cognitive ability, which is crucial when looking to improve performance. In that sense, TikTok helps students learn better by opening up new possibilities and alternative sources for gaining knowledge. Teachers can also give their students assignments to conduct or post on the platform, and although they cannot check for plagiarism on TikTok, they can check a paper for plagiarism on EduBirdie to help them submit an original paper. They can also order academic papers on the same website and receive high-quality work in no time.
Students who actively participate in a lesson are likely to perform better than those who learn passively. That being said, those who are active tend to ask questions, interrupt the teacher, comment on lessons, and so on. This kind of environment might not be easy to deal with in a physical classroom. When a short lesson is posted on TikTok however, students can post comments, criticise, and raise their thoughts online, which are good ways for promoting healthy learning. Their teacher can then answer comments and gain further ideas on how to improve their teaching experience.
Teachers could go as far as to create one TikTok account that brings an entire school, classroom, or several schools together. The account could then be used to brainstorm ideas, discuss classroom topics, subjects, or general academic issues. This would allow students on the platform to make suggestions freely, give answers to questions and help their fellow students learn.
Teachers need to keep innovating on better ways of teaching and giving class assignments. One of these ways could be to give a short class project that helps assess what the students have been learning. To encourage creativity, improve memory and intelligence, the teacher could ask students to get in groups and create a TikTok video about a specific topic. Art-related subjects would be perfect for this type of class project. All students would write a script together and then a few students would direct the video. Another group of students would then edit the video and submit it to TikTok. The students would have each gained the skills necessary for working together in producing the final result.
Improvement of academic performance can be attained through enhancing skills that help improve memory, learning new things, help in practical learning, and learning in multiple ways. All these strategies can be achieved through the use of TikTok. The videos posted on the platform can be used to share new lessons, give assignments, produce class projects and even discussion groups. Most TikTok users are teenagers, which means teachers can easily tap into their potential and help them perform better academically with the help of the beloved app.
Play time’s over for China’s youth as the country increasingly cracks down on culture and business following President Xi Jinping’s call for a “national rejuvenation.” Joining a three-hour ban on “electronic drugs” (popularly known as video games), is yet another limitation on how the demographic spends their free time.
On 18 September, ByteDance, the parent company of Chinese video-sharing app TikTok—known as Douyin—imposed a daily usage limit for those under the age of 14. The new measures not only restrict them to a maximum of 40 minutes spent on the app per day but bans them from accessing it between 10 p.m to 6 a.m.
Called Xiao Qu Xing, which translates to ‘Little Fun Star’, these restrictions are implemented with a built-in feature called ‘teenage mode’. “If you are a real-name registered user under 14 years old, you will automatically find yourself in ‘teenage mode’ upon opening Douyin,” the company wrote on its corporate blog. Apart from the daily usage limits, the mode offers a personalised feed of short video-based educational content including “interesting popular science experiments, exhibitions in museums and galleries, beautiful scenery across the country, explanations of historical knowledge, and so on.” While young users are allowed to ‘like’ these clips, they are banned from sharing them with others or even uploading their own.
The autonomy to adjust the time limit further (from a maximum of 40 minutes) is under parental control. The company also encourages them to help their children complete the ‘real-name’ authentication process—which requests their name, phone number and an official ID—and activate the mode when prompted by the app.
In June 2021, the Chinese government added a chapter on “internet protection” to its newly-revised Minor Protection Law, which stated how “providers of online games, livestreams, audio and visual content and social media should implement time management tools, feature restrictions and purchase restrictions for underage users.” Presently, with the government seeking to implement rules on the algorithms tech companies use to recommend videos and other content, top officials and state media are aiming to reduce the amount of time Chinese teenagers spend online in the first place.
Douyin’s teenage mode not only keeps the company in line with this vision but also seeks to add this layer of ‘internet protection’ with its real-name authentication feature. However, according to a commentary in the People’s Daily—the mouthpiece of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—such modes deployed by Chinese internet platforms “to protect teenagers from gaming addiction and inappropriate short videos,” do not go far enough, signalling that tech giants will likely have to do even more to safeguard minors and appease regulators.
“While the youth modes have apparently accumulated a significant number of users, many problems still persist—with some youth modes being criticised by parents as ‘existing in name only’,” the state newspaper mentioned, adding how it can be easily bypassed with simple workarounds.
The article, as noted by South China Morning Post, cited the case of a father in Guangxi who said, “I don’t know how my son came to know the password that I’ve set and he flat-out disabled the youth mode in these mobile games. He even said that some classmates of his have bought hack tips from the internet to bypass the ‘youth mode’.”
While Tencent started leveraging facial recognition to limit the amount of time minors could spend playing games, the technology is far from being the ideal alternative here—given how children have previously cheated the system to set up their own OnlyFans using documents of their older relatives. With Kuaishou (another video-sharing app and Douyin’s major competitor in China) also featuring a teenage mode which is non-mandatory, concerns have been triggered over the possibility of such rules being adopted by companies globally to maintain their share in China.