Children Recovering From the TikTok Tics

Children Recovering From the TikTok Tics

( – There’s currently an effort to ban TikTok in the United States. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle believe the app poses a danger to the American people and national security. However, that is not the only problem caused by the video streaming platform.

Doctors across the world have treated thousands of teenagers over the last few years. Many of the patients reportedly watched TikTok videos of teens who claimed they suffered from Tourette Syndrome. That is a nervous system condition that causes patients to have tics or unexpected movements that they are unable to control.

In one case, The New York Times reported that 16-year-old Aidan walked into his home, arms swinging while he let out loud noises. His parents thought he was going crazy. What he actually had was something labeled the “TikTok tics.” A study reported an influx of kids with symptoms that mimicked exaggerated Tourette tics.

These movements are documented on the social media app and have been viewed more than 7 billion times. But they weren’t doing it on purpose; the movements were involuntary. Aidan was put on psychiatric medications and eventually received treatment at Alberta Children’s Hospital’s clinic specializing in functional disorders. That’s a term describing a problem with the way a person’s brain receives and sends information to their body, when there is technically no damage to their brain.

Doctors believed it was an outbreak of functional disorders that was spurred by teens who all had endured shared stress. In this case, the kids largely watched social media videos, connecting with one another on the internet. The brain responded to the upheaval in kids’ lives by producing physical symptoms, even ones that mimicked seizures. As the lives of students have returned to normal, the cases of TikTok tics have started receding. Dr. Tamara Pringsheim, a Canadian neurologist, explained kids are “like sponges, grabbing onto new skills to cope.”

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