TikTok is a Chinese-created app that has hypnotized the youth of America. Now, millions of people are clamoring to become popular on the video-sharing platform by posting content that bends the boundary around what is acceptable. While some people share useful DIY tips and household hacks, other people – especially young Gen Z members – are at high risk of being taken into the latest “viral craze” that should have parents across the country terrified for their safety.
If parents or adults hear a young person talk about “pasta” on the video-sharing platform, then they need to be on high alert. “I had pasta tonight” and other similar phrasings of the content are not part of some internet challenge craze but are actually used as a coded cry for help.
The suicide rate among young people is high. It is one of the leading causes of death among Gen Z people – and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that young people are at risk of death by suicide. In the decade between 2007 and 2017, the rate of suicide for people age ten to twenty-four has increased by an astounding 56 percent.
Social media usage and apps like TikTok have been shown to contribute to depression. And depression is the leading cause of suicide. Not only do people in Generation Z use social media in lieu of in-person interactions, but COVID-19 has also forced young people deeper into the dark hole of social media. A study by Guildford Press found that there is a link between social media usage and poor emotional and mental health.
One woman wrote about the coded language via her Twitter post.
“(I) saw a TikTok about a girl saying her mom just made her favorite pasta… Not knowing what it’s about, I went to the comment section & it’s everyone giving her reasons to stay. One comment said, ‘Have you heard your child’s laugh yet?’”
TikTok users are coding their mental health struggles through mentions of “pasta” and other common phrases like “I finished my shampoo and conditioner at the same time.” These coded messages are cries for help and could indicate that the user sharing them is near the brink of suicide.
One person believes that these coded messages came from a post on Wattpad called “Don’t kill yourself today.”
One point says to “finish your shampoo and conditioner at the same time” and another says to “tell someone your best pasta recipe.”
When people who are in the know about the coded phrases see them in TikTok videos, they know to reach out and offer some help.
One TikTok captioned “Told my mom about my favorite pasta recipe, and she made it for dinner tonight” received over 3 million views and 60,000 comments — all of which can be summed up by one user’s comment: “This comment section is my new therapy. Thank you.”
“You’re so loved,” one person replied.
“You haven’t come this far to only come this far,” another posted.
“I love you all so much it’s beyond words,” the poster commented. “Thank you so much.”
What do you think about the coded messages about suicide on the Chinese TikTok app?