TikTok provides a lot to talk about | Mary Jo Podgurski | observer … – Observer-Reporter

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Sun and clouds mixed. High 48F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph..
Rain showers this evening changing to mixed rain and snow overnight. Low 32F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precip 60%.
Updated: January 5, 2023 @ 8:40 am

Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski is the founder and director of the Washington Health System Teen Outreach. She responds to 6–8 questions from young people daily and has written ‘Ask Mary Jo’ since 2005.
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Today, I will focus on questions about TikTok, a video social media app popular with teens and young adults.
Q. My friend told me there’s a TikTok that helps you find a boyfriend. Is this true? Is TikTok like a dating app for my age?
Mary Jo’s Response: I don’t think a dating app for people your age is a good idea, whether it’s on TikTok or not. I also don’t think TikTok is for dating. Right now, learn how to make friends. Get to know people. Think about your interests and try to connect with someone who likes the same things. Join clubs at school, play sports or attend a Teen Center like the one we host in Washington. Meet people in real life.
It’s important to know what you want in a relationship before you’re in one. Some relationships are healthy; others are unhealthy. A healthy relationship empowers both people to be their best selves, does not pressure, involves consent and is respectful. Set your standards high and communicate with people you meet.
You are worthy of a great relationship. Be patient. You’ll get there.
Q. My older brother showed me a gross TikTok video. Why would he do that? What should I do? I didn’t like it at all.
Mary Jo’s Response: No one should pressure you to watch something you think is gross. Are you comfortable telling your older brother to stop? If not, I suggest you tell an adult in your family. Your brother may just be teasing you. You don’t say why you thought the video was gross. Showing a younger sibling sexual content is not okay – you should definitely tell a trusted adult if it was.
Q. I want to be a TikTok influencer, but my parents are so mean. They won’t let me tape anything and post it. How can I convince them?
Mary Jo’s Response: Your parents are protecting you. Once something is posted on social media, you have no control over who sees it or how people react. While I do know a few older teens who post on TikTok, they are careful and respectful. Why not show your parents anything you want to post for their approval? As your parents, they have the right to monitor what you post.
Q. On TikTok, this woman said she used a tampon, and the string got lost inside her. Where did it go? I just started my period, and this scared me. I’m thinking I’ll never use one.
Mary Jo’s Response: Tampon strings cannot get lost inside a person. The vagina is a dead end. It’s possible for the string to be hard to find, but it’s there. It’s okay to touch your body to locate it.
If you just started your period, you don’t need to use a tampon until you’re comfortable doing so. You can use a sanitary napkin (pad), tampon or menstrual cup. Talk with your mom or another trusted adult, and they’ll show you what to do.
Have a question? Send it to Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski’s email podmj@healthyteens.com.
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