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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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TikTok becomes the new Dr. Google for the young cyberspace generation

We have all done it. When we had physical or mental problems, we confidently turned to Dr. Google for a diagnosis. The huge database behind Dr. Google should theoretically enable them to make the most accurate diagnoses. But only theoretically. In addition to data, training is also needed to make a diagnosis. Increasingly, the young cyberspace generation is turning to TikTok for diagnoses, reports Julie Jargon in the WSJ.

She reports on a young woman who believes she suffers from borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and multiple-personality disorder. She watched hours of related videos on TikTok. Another young woman was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when she was 10 years old and also turned to TikTok to learn more about borderline.

According to Julie Jargon, TikTok videos containing the hashtag #borderlinepersonalitydisorder have been viewed almost 600 million times. However, only 1.4% of the U.S. adult population is estimated to experience the disorder. Borderline-personality disorder is almost never diagnosed in adolescents, because their personalities are still forming and because some symptoms, such as having unstable personal relationships and exhibiting impulsive behavior, are hard to distinguish from typical teen behavior, doctors say.

When teens watch TikTok videos and decide they have a mental-health affliction it can pose a danger. Psychologists say there are things parents should and shouldn’t do when confronting their self-diagnosing teen. TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., is implementing changes that could minimize streams of single-topic videos.

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