Generational and Political Gaps on TikTok

  • September 10, 2020
TikTok has become extremely popular amongst teens this year.

When the app Tiktok was released in September 2016, rebranded as such in 2016, formally known as “,” the platform was mainly a place for young people to share fun and light-hearted videos and be carefree as they separated themselves from the strains of daily life. These clips included cooking videos, commentary videos, and even small skits. 

This took a turn, mostly around late 2019, as the app became a large platform for various informative educational and political videos. The increasing political tension between generations made these types of videos rise in number, and it is becoming more popular to discuss these issues on Tiktok. Due to the easy-to-understand and sometimes catchy format of Tiktok videos, more and more young people are becoming easily involved in the political discussion and debates of the world. Teens are increasingly becoming more passionate about world issues as they are able to learn more about the perspectives of various social groups. 

There seems to be a subculture on the app dedicated to socially and economically progressive ideas, made up of young people who discuss and share ideas normally not brought up among their generation. As a result, adults are starting to see teens as more mature and knowledgeable- or at least that’s what the young people hope for.

A lot of kids feel like their parents shut them out and dismiss them when it comes to political discussions, labeling them as “too young to understand” or “naive.” But, on Tiktok, this criticism is not present as teens are free to express themselves without feeling watched or judged by their parents. 

As the platform becomes even more informational, teens are gaining more confidence in their beliefs, being able to share their sometimes controversial opinions with their families. Many teens have embraced this intense environment, excited by the idea of being able to debate their parents with the new information they learned from the political communities on Tiktok. 

Tiktok harbors a lot of “radical” or extreme progressivism, an idea mostly favored by younger generations but sometimes resisted by the older ones. This can cause a lot of tension between them, manifesting in passionate arguments and debates in the household.

An example of this would be the growing popularity of videos secretly taken by teens during an argument with their parents. A lot of videos show the teen filming a heated discussion with the adults (unbeknownst to them), often exposing the close-mindedness or stubborn nature of older generations. 

Additionally, teens spread information on how to hold an empty seat for Trump’s controversial rally (originally set to be held on “juneteenth”) in an effort to minimize attendance. This was a success, leading the rally to be shockingly empty and angering many people, including the president himself. He then threatened to ban Tiktok shortly after. This only helped to fuel these generational gaps and disagreements seen beforehand. 

To elaborate, a lot of teens are expressing their very left-leaning ideas to their parents, who are often in more “traditional” or less radical political positions. It is becoming more popular among the young generations to resist and defy authority, leading to this increase in political, generational gaps and disagreements. 

Younger generations are becoming more progressive and less resistant to change. We are becoming more fed-up with the social climate and more prone to speaking our minds. With the help of communicative platforms like Tiktok,  whether you might see it as a good or bad thing, this will only continue.

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