Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

I Deleted TikTok This Summer… Here’s What I Learnt

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

I’m sure everybody reading has at least heard of TikTok, if not used it. The app has millions of active users in the UK, and like many of us, I was spending hours every day mindlessly scrolling through the app. I would check my For You Page at any chance I got, whether I was waiting for the bus, on a break at work, or getting ready for bed. Its crafty algorithm and endless stream of tailored content makes it impossible to put down. 

I had been toying with the idea of deleting the app for months, due to a combination of wanting to be a bit less ‘online’, and feeling like I had outgrown the type of trivial, teenage content on the app. I was also aware that my attention span had hugely diminished, and I was constantly distracted and tempted to have a ‘quick’ look on TikTok for a dopamine hit any time I was feeling slightly under-stimulated.

I was also becoming increasingly wary of the algorithm; it knew too much about me, my interests, behaviours, routines, and hobbies. This is great at first – a whole app where you are pretty much guaranteed to see content that you will enjoy. However, for me this opened up a space to spend hours a day consuming amusing but pointless videos to remain constantly stimulated. Although I enjoyed so much of what I was viewing, I was conscious that the videos I was watching were just meaningless and had no impact on my life, yet I was still glued to my phone. 

Feeling inspired by a few of my friends who had deleted TikTok, I decided to do the same. I’d previously set 15 minute app time limits, but would override them and end up spending hours online, so I was determined to follow through with a more drastic, permanent change. 

Having had TikTok since January 2020, and used it consistently since, I was expecting to feel a TikTok-shaped void in my life. My most surprising discovery was that I didn’t miss the app AT ALL, not even on the first day of being without it. Other than the occasional moment where I would go to open TikTok and find it wasn’t there, I haven’t missed scrolling through at all, and I think this is more out of habit than genuine desire. I do sometimes wish I had something else to scroll through, and find myself spending more time on Instagram, twitter, and Facebook than before, but this is nowhere near how long I would spend on TikTok. I haven’t spent any time actively missing the For You Page or wishing I knew what the latest trends and sounds are. 

Instead, I’ve had more free time to do things I enjoy, like reading and watching TV, and doing the chores in my flat that I always put off, rather than spending all day every day glued to my phone. I’m also consuming less content surrounded on consumption and shopping. On TikTok, I was seeing dozens of OOTD and haul videos every day, and felt compelled to search online for the same garments my favourite creators were wearing. Now, I’m seeing less content like this, so I feel less driven to desire new clothes all the time, and instead want to wear things I like, rather than what I feel I should like!

I’m honestly not sure if there has been a shift yet in my attention span, but I know I find it easier to sit calmly and watch TV or read a book for an hour without checking my socials. I’m excited to see how my attention span has evolved when the university term gets into full swing, and hopefully I can concentrate better. 

Now, I’m feeling refreshed and more ready to return to university and crack on with deadlines, without the constant distraction of TikTok which I was honestly a bit addicted to. Implementing this change has truly made me more relaxed and a bit more offline, which, for me, is something I am striving towards. I’m not saying that everyone should delete TikTok, but if you don’t think it serves a purpose for you, or is distracting from other aspects of your life, or if you have simply asked yourself ‘should I delete TikTok?’, it could be a worthwhile change to make. 

Abi Manley

Exeter '25

Hi, I'm Abi! I'm a Sociology student who loves reading, music and cooking.