Swapping memes for degrees: TikTok could be banned on all UK uni campuses

13 Russell Group universities have spoken out about the impact the app could potentially have on student engagement.

Presumably, lecturers have likely had enough of students endlessly scrolling through TikTok, and pairing their lectures with Subway Surfers and Family Guy clips, because UK universities could now be set to ban the social media app on campus wifi, according to The Tab.

This comes after a group of disgruntled Vice-Chancellors from 13 Russell Group universities banded together and sent a letter to TikTok about the impact the app is having on student productivity. They claim the app is too much of a distraction on campus, is ruining students’ attention spans and is actually having a huge negative impact on grades across the board. Set to be officially announced by Education Minister Gillian Keegan in the coming days, the app is set to be banned on all Eduroam wifi networks at all 166 universities in the UK. 

A section from the Vice Chancellor’s letter to TikTok reads: “As stewards of higher education, it is our responsibility to safeguard the academic pursuits and wellbeing of our students, and recent developments have compelled us to address the adverse impact of TikTok on our campuses.”

“TikTok’s presence has disrupted the sanctity of our educational environments, with students surreptitiously engaging with the app during class time, thereby undermining the integrity of our teaching and learning processes. Lecturers and seminar leaders report instances of diminished classroom participation and heightened disengagement, attributing these trends directly to the allure of TikTok.” Yikes.

“The impact that TikTok has had on this current generation of students is astronomical and should not be underestimated,” they continued. “Not only is it distracting students from their academic study, but it has also led to a significant decline in attention spans, impeding students’ ability to focus during lectures and seminars. This has resulted in diminished academic performance, as evidenced by a noticeable decline in grades and overall student outcomes.”

The news comes as the US moved a step closer to banning TikTok after the House of Representatives passed a bill in March calling for the app’s Chinese developer ByteDance to divest from the company or be booted out of US app stores.

Many House legislators have argued that the app could allow the Chinese government to access user data and influence Americans through the wildly popular social media platform’s addictive algorithm. The White House has backed the bill, with President Joe Biden saying he would sign it if it passes Congress.

Perhaps we really are about to enter a post-TikTok world after all.

WriterChris Saunders
Banner Image CreditPexels