Tic-like behavior among teen girls may be linked to TikTok, doctor says

1 month 2 weeks 2 days ago Wednesday, October 20 2021 Oct 20, 2021 October 20, 2021 7:19 AM October 20, 2021 in News - Local

Health professionals say teens watching social media for a long period of time might try to mirror some influencers they see with a high fan following.

In some areas of Texas, including the Valley, this can include copying symptoms of an illness.

"Teenagers have a developing brain,” said Dr. Puente, a psychologist. “They are going to be highly suggestible to same-aged peers."

READ ALSO: Students destroy, steal school property for viral TikTok challenge  

Dr. Puente says from the age of 12, kids are looking to those their age for guidance and connection. With that connection being at their fingertips, some doctors have noted teenage girls coming in with tic-like conditions after watching videos of TikTok influencers about Tourette syndrome.

"If the influencer has a tic, then if the influencer is receiving a lot of positive attention because of the tic, this might motivate some more suggestable teens to think that if they had a similar type of tic, then they might get more positive feedback," Dr. Puente said.

Dr. Puente says the teens more than likely don't even realize what they are doing.

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"More than likely, it’s unconscious,” Dr. Puente said. “Because they can see these reactions and they have these desires to get it that they're unconsciously producing this kind of reaction."

So what's the answer to the growing problem?

According to Dr. Puente, limiting social media to two hours a day is a start.

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