As coronavirus infects youth and their TikTok feeds, is it helpful or disrespectful?
“When you think of two years ago, getting COVID was a bit embarrassing, it had a negative connotation. Obviously the health system is under so much pressure now, but when we live with so many cases we should talk about it and accept it as a population. “
Mr Volteas posted a follow-up video hours later, titled “COVID Symptoms You Didn’t Warn Me About,” revealing that he had mild hair loss, dry lips and “24/7 hangovers.” He also encouraged others to share their symptoms through comments.
20-year-old Izak Volteas posted a video about the coronavirus symptoms he wasn’t expecting.
“It created this healthy discussion that got people’s attention to the effects,” he says.
The avid TikTokker and media student, who is planning another video compiling his friends’ symptoms, admits he expected more backlash than he received.
“I’ve read comments on other videos from people who don’t find the humor,” says Mr Volteas.
“You have every right to say that this is a serious virus that we must take seriously. Of course I understand the seriousness; that people died. I saw my grandparents get really sick. But I think people deal with bad situations in different ways. There is no right or wrong side here. “
In a coronavirus-inspired trend, young people have uploaded visions from the major music festivals or events that they caught COVID-19 while Boney is playing Ms. Rasputin.
“I can’t change my mind, the festival was worth it,” says the caption.
Critics also agreed: “Haha yes, people get sick and suffer so funny,” is one comment.
Another format that became popular in New York City weeks ago before spreading to Australia involves posting texts from friends who are COVID positive. Others are more serious, such as daily video blogs where young people describe how uncomfortable they are.
Curtin University digital anthropologist Crystal Abidin has been researching COVID-19 on TikTok since June 2020 and says Australian users have entered the normalization phase that young people in the US adopted in late 2020.
“TikTok is a reaction to Instagram. While Instagram involves manicuring a persona, TikTok follows an ethos of strategic self-irony to attract attention, ”says Dr. Abidin.
“People have compassion for you and feel for you instead of envy you. Unless you are a social media user, your attitude may be that a serious scenario is being kept inappropriately small. But that’s often the coping mechanism or the way to get attention for those on TikTok. “
Some TikTok trends started with residents of New York City, where cases started booming in December.Credit:AP
Dr. Abidin says that young people who share new milestones like their first positive coronavirus test in some cases fall into the same category as graduating from high school or dating your first partner.
“They are markers that characterize adolescence and teenage years.”
Nathan Grills, a public health expert at the University of Melbourne, sees young people sharing their stories as a useful exercise.
“These videos show that everyday behavior like attending an event can lead to the virus, coupled with the fact that you feel really uncomfortable,” he says.
“After having barely known anyone with COVID for so long, it will come true to see it among your friends and people your age and will likely encourage you to take precautionary measures.”
However, he believes platforms like TikTok should attach official public health information to coronavirus-related content, as Facebook has already done.
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