Teenagers should be allowed to be boring and normal without having major corporate interests tied to their entire sense of being before their 16th birthday. TikTok was prime, fertile ground for advertisers, and that sucks. It strips creativity and innovation from creators who are incentivized to go where the money is. It creates hordes of young Charli [D’Amelio] copy-cats.

And it’s especially worth noting that Charli is not happy. She has repeatedly expressed how miserable the app and the pressure of her following makes her. This makes me really sad, but I don’t think it’s surprising. Plenty of people have noticed how Charli isn’t really delivering top-notch entertainment value but is still able to cash in on her fame.

So what we have here is really somewhat tragic, in my opinion. Charli was a normal 15-year-old white girl who loved competitive dancing, like many 15-year-old white girls with upper-middle class family money do. When she first started filming herself dancing on TikTok, other young people gravitated toward her “girl next door” vibes and engaging motions.

Then the TikTok algorithm spit Charli out onto millions of other users’ screens. She racked up the biggest following on the app, and advertisers descended on her like vultures to a carcass. Now Charli gets relentlessly bullied for being rich and so-called “talentless” when all she wanted to do was have fun and be 15.

Just like Charli said, that kind of takes the fun out of it.

Kat Tenbarge when the kids aren’t alright.