TikTok star gkbarry, aka Grace Keeling, says app can be used for good – BBC

One of the UK's top TikTok creators says it can be a great learning tool – after a poll for the BBC indicated many young people use it for hours daily.
Grace Keeling, 23, known for her candid, funny, short videos, has 2.5 million followers and her own podcast.
She admits users can become "wrapped up" in the app, but also says she's "probably learned more on TikTok than I did at school".
And she says TikTok is increasingly seen as having "everything on the app".
Her comments echoed an online poll conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Radio 1 and BBC Newsbeat. It asked a representative sample of 2,719 British young people aged 16-24 about their social media usage.
Within the wider sample, 83% said they used at least one social media platform every day.
Of those daily users, most reported using video-based platforms, with 39% saying that they were on TikTok for more than three hours a day.
Meanwhile, 36% of daily users said they used YouTube for the same length of time.
Among that daily group, the survey also found:
Grace, who has seen her following explode since she launched her channel in March 2020 during the pandemic, jokes about spending "23 out of 24 hours" a day on the app as a creator.
But she believes other young users spend huge amounts of time there too, and agrees things that cheer them up are the main draw.
"When I first joined, there were definitely more entertainment [videos] – there was so many funny videos," she says.
"But now ITV News and BBC News have TikTok accounts, so you're not only looking at funny videos, you can then scroll and see what's going on in the news."
TikTok can also take people's "mind off things", she says.
"I do think TikTok is a good distraction.
"If I'm ever feeling a bit anxious, I'm straight on the app, and it will just take my mind off things."
The survey also examined young people's attitudes to social media – providing results from a sample (2,680) who said they used at least one social media platform monthly.
Of those, 68% said they agreed it was the best way to stay connected with people they knew such as family and friends.
But 66% of monthly users surveyed also agreed that young people spend too much time on social media.
The survey found 59% of monthly users agreed social media was "the best way to keep up to date" with world events.
However, 24% of the same monthly group said they trusted the news they found on social media.
Olly Parker, from mental health charity YoungMinds, said the findings of the BBC's survey echoed its own research.
While social media can be a "force for good", he said, young people can "often feel trapped when they want or need to have time away from online platforms".
"Young people also told us that they are often bombarded with harmful content on TikTok that they don't want to see, particularly from people they don't know," he added.
Jess D'Cruz, from charity MIND, said social media can be great for "keeping in touch" and accessing interesting content, "we know that spending too much time online can sometimes make our mental health worse".
Jess suggested people looking to cut down on their screen time should regularly set aside time to do something offline, such as reading, doing exercise or being outdoors.
She also said making sure we eat healthily, get good sleep, and spend time with family and friends in person as much as we can were also useful strategies.
More tips from MIND can be found on its website.
Grace does agree that TikTok can have a negative impact on people's mental health, particularly due to people leaving negative comments.
But she also thinks it's a great educational tool.
"I've learned a lot out of TikTok, there's loads of people like scientists posting videos," she says.
"I've probably learned more on TikTok than I did at school. And that is not because I didn't listen at school, although that probably could have a little bit to do with that!"
Looking ahead, Matt Navarra, a social media expert, says the app is so popular that it will be interesting to see how companies like Netflix try to "claw back" time people spend on TikTok.
"Any time that we spend on a social media platform is time that we're not spending on something else," he says.
"And nowadays, social media isn't just competing against each other – in terms of TikTok versus Instagram versus YouTube – it is also competing for people's time, whether they're watching something on something like Netflix, or if they're doing things with their friends."
He added: "It'll be interesting to see whether the likes of Meta, or even [a company] like Netflix can find ways to kind of claw back some of the time that people are choosing to spend on TikTok."
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