Increase in TikTok tics raises concerns


TikTok has struck again, this time resulting in girls who are watching influencers who apparently suffer from Tourette’s syndrome. The tics mimic those seen in Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes uncontainable movements and vocal sounds. However, the relatively uncommon Tourette’s appears four times more often in boys than in girls.

According to doctors, viewer of these TikTok influencers are picking up some of their mannerisms.

“Initially, everyone thought they were seeing an isolated phenomenon, but it turns out that we’re all seeing it — a different age of onset, and disturbingly, an explosive onset. In just a few hours, maybe a day or two, girls who have no history of tics suddenly start to experience a lot of movement and vocalization,” pediatric neurologist Mohammed Aldosari told the Cleveland Clinic.

AP Psychology teacher Chloe Radd said she’s aware of the phenomenon.

“I’ve seen some TikToks where girls are doing it, and then in the comments section, they’re like ‘you can tell she’s lying about it,’” she said.

Seventh-grader Brooklyn said she’s skeptical.

“I don’t think that girls can get tics from watching girls that do actually have tics,” she said.

But Radd references that although it was many years ago and not on social media, that this isn’t necessarily the first occurrence of girls picking up on mannerisms from people around them.

“The one thing that it really reminded me of was the Salem witch trials,” Radd said. “All of a sudden one girl was acting out and then the other girls started acting out and doing the same thing. Its like hysteria.”

On the other hand, some see it as mockery.

“[It’s] like to make fun of people that actually have it,” Brooklyn said. “But I think [some] are kids, so some of them may not know to not do that.”

Radd refused to say whether girls should continue watching these influencers.

“It’s always personal choice,” she said. “I think it’s interesting to see people different from me, but I don’t necessarily pick up on things. I guess the only way is introspection, like, is this something that’s natural for me? Why do I want this sort of attention?”

But Brooklyn points to  a potential problem.

“I would stop [watching these influencers] because some people [can] get seriously hurt and maybe some people would think I’m mocking them,” she said.

By Reese Armstrong

Editor’s Note: Brevard Public Schools policy prohibits the inclusion of middle-schoolers’ last name on district-sponsored websites.