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Mental health experts worry about Tik Tok self-diagnosing videos

Are self-diagnosing tik toks misleading teens?
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 9:38 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - With over one billion users, Tik Tok is all the rage.

Just ask high school junior Matthew Jude Fanous.

“It took a lot of time away from my school and a lot of time away from my friends, which is really weird,” Fanous said.

Fanous enjoyed benign videos such as history and car tik toks.

“I mean, really, there’s any topic you can think of,” he added.

But the more videos you watch, the more questions arise. Questions like, “How do you know what you’re watching is accurate?

“Well, that’s really the thing. A lot of times you don’t,” Fanous admitted.

And while accuracy isn’t always essential, it’s critical when diagnosing mental health issues. This is why self-diagnosing tik toks are so controversial.

From ADHD to bipolar disorder, mental health experts worry that self-diagnosing videos are making teens identify with mental health issues they don’t have.

“You start living what you think that you have,” said Kristi Edwards, the CEO of Centers for Children and Families.

It’s just another feather in the already full cap modern teens have to deal with.

“The chances of you having one of these serious mental illnesses without having prior symptomology are very slim,” Edwards said.

Fanous suggests having a notification on the video similar to what Tik Tok already does on other suspect material.

Some people, like parent Christine Foreman, go further.

“If you’re not a professional or a doctor or a counselor or licensed in providing diagnoses and information, I don’t think you should be able to pass that information on,” Foreman said.

Fanous deleted Tik Tok at the start of this year, a move most teens will likely find a bridge too far.

And if your teen thinks they might have a mental health issue, Edwards recommends getting a diagnosis from a professional.

“If your teen really believes there’s something wrong, don’t just shut them down,” she said.

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