PARENTING: Teen girls experiencing 'tics' caused by watching TikTok videos

PARENTING: Teen girls experiencing 'tics' caused by watching TikTok videos

How much screen time do you allow your kids to have?

PARENTING: Teen girls experiencing 'tics' caused by watching TikTok videos
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Our patterns of consuming media has evolved drastically, more so since the start of the pandemic, as many countries went into strict lockdown. The lockdown regulations saw a rise in internet service subscriptions, as many people turned to social media and online entertainment. 

Of course this isn't unhealthy if it is done in a balanced manner and incorporates outdoor time, family time, and other recreational time. But experts have revealed that they noticed a rise in teenage girls experiencing tics since the pandemic started. 

"Doctors in multiple countries are reporting a rise in teen girls developing tics, and that anxiety, depression, and TikTok could be contributing factors. Several medical journal articles found the teen girls were watching TikTok videos of people who said they had Tourette syndrome." (Business Insider)

Of course, as parents, we have heard stories that haven't necessarily shone a positive light on social media platforms such as TikTok. In one particular story, we heard about a child who attempted to try a trend that was circulating on the platform and she ended up in hospital. 

What is Tourette syndrome or TS? 

"It is a neurological disorder characterized by sudden, repetitive, rapid, and unwanted movements or vocal sounds called tics. TS is one of a group of disorders of the developing nervous system called tic disorders." (Ninds)

According to an expert, people who have TS generally have their own unique tics, but recently there has been a rise in treating young teen girls who were displaying the same tics. 

"Caroline Olvera, a movement-disorders fellow at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, told The Journal she noticed many patients blurting out the word "beans" with a British accent, even patients who didn't speak English. Eventually, she learned that one top British TikToker would blurt out the word "beans." (Business Insider)

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It was noted that many of the kids who were experiencing the tics had previously suffered with anxiety and depression. 

While a child neurologist, Mariam Hull, at Texas Children's Hospital noticed that psychological disorders, which are known to be able to spread, were previously restricted to geographical locations, due to social media being easily accessible anywhere in the world, it has allowed them to spread globally. 

This is definitely some sort of proof to support the theory that kids mimic what they see, in this case it wasn't even a conscious decision, which somehow seems more scary. 

Nevertheless, experts have suggested that parents limit screen time and also monitor the type of content that their kids are consuming. Of course, this is a big lesson for all of us as parents, because anything is possible. 

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