Photo Contributed by Instagram
After long school days, extracurriculars and the pressures that come with high school, most kids resort to their abundance of technology as a way to relax. Choosing whether to scroll through Snapchat, Instagram, or TikTok during any spare time has become a natural instinct for the majority of teenagers, and the several hours spent on social media a day has been heavily incorporated into the entirety of our routines.
Recently, TikTok star Sienna Mae Gomez has been under fire after allegedly sexually harassing her “TikTok boyfriend” Jack Wright. Topics such as rape and sexual harassment cannot be taken lightly. This specific case has definitely looked different from many others though, as the entirety of it has been handled through the realms of social media which is extremely harmful.
Whether kids are creating content of their own, or just watching for entertainment purposes, social media is no longer the relaxing place that it used to be. As many know, cancel culture has almost entirely encompassed social media today, creating a stressful environment for everyone that indulges in it. Although, one issue that is not talked about as often, is the extreme obsession that many people have with social media influencers. As this may just seem to be pure enthusiasm, it has proven to get innocent viewers involved in extremely complex and mature issues.
As Sienna has always been recognized for using her platform in a positive manner, exemplifying body positivity, and being a huge role model to younger viewers, these allegations have been very detrimental to her image. Due to the fact that the alleged victim, Jack, has not come out saying anything regarding these claims, they are completely up for speculation. Outside factors and people close to, yet not involved in the situation, have provided their side to it all, allowing for viewers to form an opinion off of an incomplete narrative. This case is being completely taken on by social media users, predominantly those of a young age.
This is not the first time that something like this has happened. Several times friendships or relationships have gone through challenging periods publicly for all of their fans to assess. These extremely personal and difficult issues should not be at the hands of young crowds to take onto themselves.
Many children are not ready to face such real-world affairs when signing up for a carefree and fun app. TikTok has always been known for its entertaining dances and humorous skits, so bringing the intensity onto the app that these situations include is neither fair nor healthy for many to see. These children are not emotionally mature enough to be even hearing stories about sexual assault cases, and now they are the ones deciding if they believe that Sienna is guilty or not.
Along with that, the entirety of this case has been treated to the same extent as TikTok drama, despite its criminality and extremity. The excitement that many viewers contain when new “tea” on the topic comes out, proves how the case is not being taken seriously enough. It should never be exciting for people to find out new information regarding a sexual assault case, although due to the treatment of this incident, many have yielded to the drama. This continues to distance kids from the ideas that sexual assault and rape are serious topics that need to be addressed as soon as they come up, and instead are fulfilling their fan page content for Sienna Mae and Jack Wright.
Sienna Mae has already lost millions of followers, despite the two videos that she has put out explaining her side of the story, and denying all allegations. Many children watching these videos may have little to no knowledge of the topics that she is discussing, leaving them to spread false information and hate on the influencer they like the least. Due to the severity of this issue, these children’s actions can be very harmful to the actuality of the case.
As it does not seem to me that TikTok will be going out of style any time soon, I can only hope that it maintains its carefree side to it, allowing children to use the app in a pleasurable manner, instead of pushing severe topics onto their feeds.