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Let’s face it: 2020 has been a rollercoaster of events that no one asked for. From a deadly pandemic, a worldwide movement for racial justice and national political uprisings, 2020 has brought collective uncertainty and world-shifting events that many have had a hard time coping with. However, people, especially young people, have found a way to escape the harsh realities of 2020 and invest themselves in something less frightening — TikTok. 

While the spread of coronavirus has kept people inside their homes, many have resorted to their mobile devices more than usual to socialize and communicate. TikTok, a popular video-sharing app, had a record number of downloads when quarantine was at its peak in March. The app reached 75.5 million new downloads, about a 25% increase compared to the number of downloads in February, according to LearnBonds

“I always hated on TikTok until March,” University of Maryland sophomore Lauren Binnion said. “I got tired of watching Netflix in quarantine, so I needed something else to keep myself occupied.” 

The hilarious, catchy and relatable videos that flood TikTok For You pages are what makes scrolling through the app so timeless. One could start scrolling video after video before bed and not stop until the birds chirp in the morning. However, the hours spent on this addictive app are still hours spent not thinking about the seriousness of the world. 

University of Maryland sophomore Luca Bloom said TikTok pushed him to use humor as a coping mechanism for dealing with a positive COVID-19 result in July. 

“I do that a lot with social media,” Bloom said. “I just open my apps subconsciously because scrolling through funny posts makes me stop thinking about what’s making me stressed. It serves as a distraction to pass the time.” 

Although stress is inevitable, humor aids in maintaining a light-hearted point of view — which is something everyone needs right now.

TikTok is nothing more than a quick(ish) and easily accessible break from the reality that remains once the app is closed. It’s the little moments of distraction and laughter that make TikTok worth spending time on as this year finally comes to an end. 

Julia is a junior studying multi-platform journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. Aside from writing for HC, Julia is a radio personality at WMUC radio and is involved in her sorority Phi Sigma Sigma and dance team "Phunktions." She spends most of her money on clothes she doesn't need and most of her time on TikTok.
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