July 23, 2024
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Let’s Talk About Sex — on TikTok

By: Sesilie Stout

Teens are turning to Tik Tok to answer their burning questions about sex.

While debates around public high school health curriculum, contraception and sexuality rage on in the background, teens have found a new way to talk, and get information, about sex.

The hashtag #sexualhealth alone has a whopping 1.8 billion views. Within this hashtag, female anatomy, sexual pleasure and contraception are some of the most common themes.  You might recognize, as many have, that these are all subjects that are frequently glazed over in health class. Many speculate that the app may be a way to fill in where our traditional education system is lacking.

Spreading information is among the top challenges for health organizations. Tik Tok assists health communicators in reaching their target audiences and provides a medium for two-way engagement. The app facilitates conversations and provides data insights that help them understand and better meet the needs of their consumers.

Tik Tok has made health information more inclusive. Topics that are frequently excluded and at times even prohibited from traditional home or school-based education settings are made accessible. It has become an indispensable resource for teens who lack the relationships, confidence or resources to ask questions comfortably without fear of judgement.

Before we applaud our favorite app for all its wonderful services there are a few things that should be considered.

Tik Tok is not reliable information source, yet nearly 40% of young people will search for information on Tik Tok before turning to google. At the same time, the spread of health-related misinformation of social media is on the rise. Tik Tok is one of the fastest growing social media platforms. There are little to no barriers preventing users from posting or re-posting videos, making the app extremely vulnerable to the spread of misinformation. This is terrifying considering users may be relying on this information to make important health decisions.

Social media in general has been known to heighten insecurities by presenting only idealized representations of reality. Body-shaming, among other cyber bullying tactics are not uncommon on these platforms and Tik Tok is no exception. These factors may not make the platform an ideal environment in which young people can freely discuss sexual health concerns.

Teens deserve access to comprehensive, inclusive and accurate health information. Tik Tok may be a way to fill in for issues that are unaddressed, but it is important that both creators and consumers proceed with caution.

People deserve access to comprehensive, inclusive and accurate health information. Tik Tok may be a way to fill in for issues that are unaddressed, but it is important that both creators and consumers proceed with caution.

4 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Sex — on TikTok

  1. Hi Sesilie, great post! I think it’s fascinating that TikTok has become a platform for teens to discuss sexual health issues often glazed over in traditional education systems. However, I agree that TikTok is not always a reliable source of information and that spreading health-related misinformation is concerning. Additionally, the prevalence of cyberbullying and body-shaming on social media platforms like TikTok could create an unsafe environment for young people to discuss sensitive topics. While TikTok can be a helpful tool to fill in the gaps in traditional education, we should proceed with caution and continue to advocate for comprehensive, inclusive, and accurate health education for all young people.

  2. I completely agree with the concerns raised about Tik Tok as a reliable source of information on sexual health. While the platform has certainly enabled young people to discuss issues that are often overlooked in traditional education, it is important to recognize that social media is not a substitute for accurate and evidence-based health information.

    It is crucial for individuals to seek information from reputable sources such as health organizations, rather than relying solely on social media for answers to their health-related questions. It is also important for creators on Tik Tok to ensure that their content is accurate and based on reliable sources of information, and to provide appropriate disclaimers and warnings where necessary.

    As with any social media platform, Tik Tok has the potential to both empower and harm its users. Therefore, it is important for young people to approach it with caution, to be mindful of the information they consume and to always seek out reliable sources of information when it comes to their health.

  3. Hey Sesilie! I loved reading your blog. I haven’t seen an approach to to sexual awareness on Tik Tok in both positive and negative viewpoints, but you did it and did it well. I agree that middle and high school health curriculums leave out a lot of real concerns and questions about sex. Which is why many teens turn to Tik Tok to receive advice from content creators. I think this is an awesome way to get your questions answered by teens just like you, but again that can lead to jumping to conclusions using misinformation.

  4. This blog sheds light on an interesting trend where teens are turning to TikTok to seek information and discuss topics related to sexual health. It highlights the app’s potential to address gaps in traditional education systems and provide a platform for open conversations. However, it also raises concerns about the reliability of information and the spread of misinformation on TikTok. The blog reminds us to be cautious and highlights the importance of comprehensive and accurate health information.

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