TikTok Tics

Perhaps like me, you are scratching your head over the recent news reports about teenage girls who suddenly develop tics, jerking movements, and verbal outburst, which are usually symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome. As the story has unfolded, health care professionals report the common thread of these girls watching TikTok videos featuring social media influencers who actually have Tourettes. Movement disorders specialist Dr. Caroline Olvera believes this is a case of a mass sociogenic illness which occurs when behaviors, emotions, and conditions spread spontaneously through a close-knit group. In other words, watching the TikTok videos is a social media transmitted kind of infectious agent. Parents, we need to wake up and realize that our smartphones and social media, when used without borders and boundaries, can influence both us and our children in some surprising ways, including types of mass hysteria. Be sure to set social media limits for your kids.