Toxic TikTok Trends


  • Ava Korbani Central Catholic High School
  • Jessica LaBrie Central Catholic High School



TikTok, Social Media, Toxic Trends, Body Image


With the rise of social media, body image dissatisfaction has increased among young females and has led to a variety of negative consequences such as eating disorders. The TikTok app is the newest form of social media where users are encouraged to post creative videos and provide commentary. TikTok’s ForYouPage, an algorithm that creates a symbiotic relationship between user interest in trends and a means to satisfy these interests, has promoted the long-standing theme of body image dissatisfaction on social media apps. The more users continue to express interest in toxic body trends, the more the app pushes this same content. My research will dive into the specific trends that appear on a TikTok ForYouPage, with the goal to determine the most toxic criteria prevalent on the TikTok body image atmosphere. For the purpose of my study, I created two separate equations: total measured toxicity (TMT) derived from a content analysis, and a total surveyed toxicity (TST) derived from a focus group survey. I concluded from the two equations that the act of giving or receiving qualitative or quantitative appearance rates is the most toxic criteria prevalent on TikTok’s body image atmosphere. The results of this study give insight to how the app should take action to eliminate toxic body trends and prioritize restricting the most toxic criteria, as determined by my study.


Download data is not yet available.

References or Bibliography


Aslam, Salman. “Omnicore Agency - Digital Marketing Agency.”, 11 Feb. 2020.

Bowenbank, Starr. “Charli D'Amelio and Addison Rae Clapped Back at Body Shamers on Twitter for Criticizing Their Weight.” Cosmopolitan, 28 Apr. 2020.

Chen, Tanya. “Young Women Are Jumping On A Viral TikTok Chain Where They Dance With Their Stomachs Out.” BuzzFeed News, 9 Sept. 2020.

Cohen, Rachel, and Alex Blaszczynski. "Comparative effects of Facebook and conventional media on body image dissatisfaction." Journal of Eating Disorders, vol. 3, no. 1, 2015. Gale OneFile: Gender Studies,

Dempster, Alice. “'Extremely Unsafe': TikTok Videos Fuelling Eating Disorders amid Coronavirus Lockdowns, Experts Warn.” ABC News, 12 May 2020.

De Sousa Silva, Ana Flávia, et al. “Image-Discursive Construction of Body Beauty in Social Media: Effects on Followers’ Body and Eating Perceptions.” Demetra: Food, Nutrition & Health / Alimentação, Nutrição & Saúde, vol. 13, no. 2, June 2018, pp. 395–411. EBSCOhost.

Dubicka, Bernadka, et al. “Editorial: Screen Time, Social Media and Developing Brains: A Cause for Good or Corrupting Young Minds?” Child & Adolescent Mental Health, vol. 24, no. 3, Sept. 2019, pp. 203–204. EBSCOhost.

Fardouly, Jasmine, et al. “Instagram Use and Young Women’s Body Image Concerns and Self-Objectification: Testing Mediational Pathways.” Sage, New Media & Society 2018, Vol.20(4) 1380-1395.,%20Willburger,%20%26%20Vartanian%20(2018).pdf

Feltman, Chandra E., and Dawn M. Szymanski. “Instagram Use and Self-Objectification: The Roles of Internalization, Comparison, Appearance Commentary, and Feminism.” Sex Roles, vol. 78, no. 5–6, Mar. 2018, pp. 311–324. EBSCOhost.

Hanley, Sarah M., et al. "Taking a break: The effect of taking a vacation from Facebook and Instagram on subjective well-being." Plos One, vol. 14, no. 6, 2019, p. e0217743. Gale Health and Wellness.

Kaufman, Sarah. “'It's Not Worth It': Young Women on How TikTok Has Warped Their Body Image.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 19 July 2020.

Köver, Chris. “Discrimination - TikTok Curbed Reach for People with Disabilities.” 2 Dec. 2019.

Lim, Yujin, and Soontae An. "Effects of Attributions and Social Media Exposure on Obesity Stigma Among Korean Adolescents." Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, vol. 46, no. 12, 2018, p. 2049+. Gale Health and Wellness.

McLean, Sian A., et al. "How do 'Selfies' Impact Adolescents' Well-Being and Body Confidence? A Narrative Review." Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 2020, p. 513c+. Gale OneFile: Psychology.

Mohsin, Maryam. “10 TikTok Statistics You Need to Know in 2021 [March Data].” Oberlo, 30 Apr. 2021,

Ormsby, Hollie, et al. "A Brief Report on the Associations Amongst Social Media Use, Gender, and Body Esteem in a UK Student sample." Current Psychology, vol. 38, no. 2, 2019, p. 303+. Gale OneFile: Psychology.

Peiró-Velert, Carmen, et al. “Screen Media Usage, Sleep Time and Academic Performance in Adolescents: Clustering a Self-Organizing Maps Analysis.” Plos One, vol. 9, no. 6, June 2014, pp. 1–9. EBSCOhost.

Porterfield, Carlie. “TikTok Takes On 'Body Shaming' With A Ban On Ads For Fasting Apps.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 23 Sept. 2020.

Rofagha, Antonia, and Julie De Balilliencourt. “Coming Together to Support Body Positivity on TikTok.” Newsroom, TikTok, 16 Aug. 2019.

Verma, Arushi, and Maria-Irini Avgoulas. “Eating Disorders: Perceptions of Young Women and Social Media Portrayal.” International Journal of Health, Wellness & Society, vol. 5, no. 4, Dec. 2015, pp. 97–105. EBSCOhost.

Wides, Sonia Chajet. “TikTok’s Body Image Problem.” The Bardvark, 28 May 2020,

Willen, Claudia. “Lizzo Calls out TikTok for Removing Her Videos in Bathing Suits While Letting Other Women Share Posts in Bikinis: 'I Wonder Why'.” Insider, 6 Mar. 2020.



How to Cite

Korbani, A., & LaBrie , J. . (2021). Toxic TikTok Trends . Journal of Student Research, 10(2).



AP Capstone™ Research