High Schools to TikTok: We’re Catching Feelings


“On other media you’re hiding your flaws,” Mr. Callahan said. “Here you’re showing them off.”

Aaron Eddy, 17, a senior at Whitesboro High School in Marcy, N.Y., said that it’s the authenticity part that he thinks makes the app so compelling. He said he likes how he can be “crazy” on it without judgment.

Morgan Townsend, a 17-year-old senior at West Orange, said that she makes TikToks of notable life moments for the memories. “During homecoming week we’d take a clip of our outfits every day, and it was fun to watch the end of the week,” she said.

Ireland McTague said, “TikTok is a safer space where you can post videos about you being yourself, rather than worrying about being perfect.” She contrasted it with YouTube and Instagram, where more polished presentations are the norm.

(As with those platforms, there is a potential for inappropriate use of TikTok by predators. To protect users, a TikTok spokeswoman said, the app has safeguards like “privacy settings, controls over who can view or interact with content, and in-app reporting.”)

Harper Kelly, a 17-year-old senior at Milford High School in Ohio, said, of her school TikTok club, “The last TikTok Tuesday, the room was split in half, one half of the room was watching TikToks, the other half was people doing dances and making them.”

The TikTok club at Fruita Monument High School in Colorado has its own TikTok account, @TikTokClubbbb, an early club that appears to have spawned others. Dennis Allen, a 17-year-old senior and club member, posted a TikTok, on which one respondent, Sophie Furdek, wrote: “I started TikTok club at my school.”



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