Released in September 2016, TikTok has grown to be an influential platform where ordinary people share anything from beauty tips, music, “fails,” to home improvement ideas.

In 2022, TikTok acquired 3 billion downloads and more than 1 billion active users each month. Teenagers like junior Ree Fukumoto, self-described as “chronically online,” often find themselves going to TikTok as the default app on their phones. Sophomore Jaydi Dakujaku said, “I think on average, I use it around 2 to 3, maybe even 4 hours a day.” Christian Ministries assistant Hanna Marie Hix, who is in her twenties, stated, “Sometimes I use it as an escape.”

One recent trending topic has to do with ten-year old “Sephora girls.” It began as a video of pre-teen girls allegedly making a mess of samples at a Sephora store. Thousands of satire videos have been made since that original video became viral, impersonating the girls with their Stanley and Drunk Elephant retinol obsession. Junior Natali Nomura, who feels outraged at the girls’ behavior, said, “They have so much money that we as young adults don’t have and it’s interesting to see how they disregard the importance of money. They also don’t treat workers with respect, which is something that I grew up really having an emphasis on.” In related TikTok videos, many young girls under 13, defined as Gen Alpha, are shown shopping at Sephora stores, purchasing $62 moisturizers, $46 self tanners, and even $600 hair tools. These same girls then use these products to film “get ready with me” videos, shocking viewers with the amount of pricey makeup they own. 

Songs also have gone viral with the help of Tiktok. Dakujaku said, “My favorite trend that stood out to me was the song “See You Again (feat. Kali Uchis)” by Tyler, The Creator. It’s because it was a trend in the beginning and end of 2023, and I thought it was nice that the song came full circle and popped back up.” Other popular songs that have succeeded through marketing on TikTok and other social media platforms are “Strangers” by Kenya Grace, “greedy” by Tate McRae, and “My Love Mine All Mine” by Mitski. 

Hix said, “My favorite TikTok trend is ‘I think I like this little life’ because I think it’s so catchy and funny.” Users use this saying in their videos, to either be sarcastic or actually express how much they “like this little life.” For example, one montage features someone enjoying a relaxing Saturday morning, serving blueberry pancakes, brewing coffee lattes, doing yoga, and taking an “everything” shower, with the ambient music of “I think I like this little life” playing in the background. 

TikTok users also find themselves using the app to look things up. Senior Michelle Lee said, “Maybe I would search some things up on Tiktok when Google can’t give me a good answer.” Fukumoto gives credit to Tiktok for helping her find better skincare and makeup products. When someone can’t decide between two brands of the same kind of product at a store, Tiktok can be a quick and useful resource for reviews. The app also features many how-to videos. “I would say that around one-fourth of the things that I know outside of school are from TikTok. I watch a lot of arts and crafts, cooking, baking, shopping tips, cleaning methods and more,” said Dakujaku. 

Adult TikTok users have a different perspective on TikTok compared to teenagers. Hix said, “TikTok doesn’t have too much of an influence on my life but that could be because when it was big, I was in college, so I didn’t feel as attached to it early on. I have seen the different sides of it, like the marketers, the influencers, so I’m intrigued by all of that, but I only use it every once in a while…like every few weeks.” 

In a recent high school split chapel, students played a “pick a side” game, where they had to choose which topic was more offensive: Sephora kids versus iPad kids. Without a doubt, most students knew what these choices referred to without needing any explanation. When asked why the Christian Ministries team chose these two options for the game, Hix said, “We kind of try to stay relevant… I’ve heard it’s [Sephora kids] been a running joke for a while.”