The Millstone Times

FAMILY MATTERS TikTok Facilitates Inspiring Teenage Interactions By, Surabhi Ashok

During times like these, it is encouraging to see acts of kind- ness being performed, whether it be to strangers or friends. The impact teenagers have on each other despite being in so many different parts of the world is extraordinary. On TikTok for instance, one specific video spread quickly and warmed thousands and thousands of hearts. 18-year old Sara Sadok made a series of videos called “Let’s Eat Togeth- er,” encouraging people with eating disorders to turn on her video and share a birthday meal with her. In her first video she had said, “If you ever have a hard time sitting down for a meal, let’s have a meal together. I’ll take the first bite to make it a little less intimidating for you, and you can have your first bite after, okay?... I know that was hard, and I’m really proud of you. Let’s have our second bite together…” The TikTok was made to counter the toxic diet culture that also plagued the app. Young kids are especially affected, as they develop a mentality that they have to change their weight and/or the way they look to fit societal standards. In addition, Sadok wanted to help her own friend who struggles with an eating disorder.

Soon enough, Sara Sadok received so much positive feedback from her videos. People duetted her video, which is when the screen is split and two videos match their audio and message, to eat with Sadok. One teen called Sadok a “beautiful person” in the caption of her duetted video while another expressed her gratitude by making her own “Let’s Eat Together” video. Sara exclaimed, “Watching all the ‘duets’ is so heartwarming and really resonates with me because I never truly realized how much help I was. The most inspiring thing for me is to see the people who initially duetted my video to help them eat now creating videos of their own to help others do the same thing.” The reason as to why the 18-year old girl’s video was so helpful is because it shows a person with eating disorders that their worst fear will not occur if they decide to have a snack, according to therapist Carolyn Comas at Eating Disorder Therapy LA. Their mind can come up with many reasons as to why they should not eat. These reasons are dulled when someone takes a bite with you.

Especially with the pandemic, not everyone has access to professional support. Comas commented that “eating disorders thrive in isolation”, but can be helped with social interactions like Sara Sadok’s videos.

Call the National Eating Disorders Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

TikTok also enables personal political expression in teenagers. It allows for the youth to share their experiences regarding racism for example to a wider audience that can relate. It facilitates stimulating discussions in the comment sections about social issues in the U.S. and the world. It spreads awareness on topics like climate change. On the flip side, the app is often a place to joke around and interact with people who have common interests in books, movies, music, etc. Particularly with Covid-19, TikTok has opened up a safe space for younger generations, helping teens communicate the best they can.


24 The Millstone Times

May 2021

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