Families turn to TikTok during the coronavirus pandemic to get through quarantine together

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Mother of five Michelle Pearson says TikTok has become a source of "fun family bonding" during the otherwise stressful coronavirus quarantine. (Photo: TikTok)
Mother of five Michelle Pearson says TikTok has become a source of "fun family bonding" during the otherwise stressful coronavirus quarantine. (Photo: TikTok)

People everywhere are turning to social media during the coronavirus pandemic for information about the virus and a sense of community amid social distancing. But the short-form video app TikTok seems to be serving the unique purpose of providing an escape during this distressing time and ultimately bringing families together while they’re stuck at home.

“On Instagram Stories people are sharing a lot of articles, same with Twitter. And there’s no problem with that because we all need to be educated,” Cameron Rogers, a full-time content creator in the health and wellness space, explains to Yahoo Lifestyle. “But at some point, we also just need that break, and I think that’s what TikTok is serving for everyone.”

The 28-year-old behind @FreckledFoodie uses Instagram as her primary platform for her business. However, after asking her audience about the content that they’d like to see during this time, she decided to experiment elsewhere. “Everyone wanted more just regular content, something to keep their minds distracted from everything that’s going on right now,” she says.

Once one humorous video on her TikTok blew up, she decided that the platform could better serve her followers during this time. “This could be the content that I’m providing people, some sense of humor right now,” she says. “So we just kept going.”

The videos to gain the most traction have been a series of her mother, Cindy, hilariously playing the role of her family’s executive assistant as Rogers and others in her parents’ house work from home. And while tensions could run high in a home filled with quarantined adults trying to maintain productivity and personal space, creating content for TikTok has become a fun group activity.

“It’s definitely been interesting moving back in with my parents. I never thought that at 28, my husband and my dog and I would move into my parents’ house for over a month,” Rogers says of the current situation, adding that her siblings and their significant others also relocated to her parents’ home in Florida. “We’ve designated desk areas. Two of us are in our family room, my dad’s in the kitchen, my husband’s in one of the bedrooms. So that kind of separates it into offices. But we also just really like to have fun with each other.”

The fun that they’ve had with TikTok while quarantining in their home has also entertained the hundreds of thousands of people who have watched the videos that they’ve made — a welcome exchange during this time. And they’re not the only ones.

In fact, some of TikTok’s leading trends right now are #HappyAtHome and #LifeAtHome, according to a TikTok spokesperson, which goes to show just how people are using the app to not only create but to also engage with relatable and fun quarantine content. Greg Justice, head of content programming for TikTok U.S., tells Yahoo Lifestyle that “co-creating” is what’s ultimately bringing families together.

“At its core, TikTok is all about bringing people together,” he says. “This is a difficult time for the world as a whole, but it's been inspiring to see that our shared sense of concern has become a commonality that brings us closer. It's been comforting to see families cooking together, pranking each other, choreographing dance routines and otherwise co-creating content while embracing social distancing and staying safe at home.”

Michelle Pearson, a content creator and mother of five, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she’s been turning to TikTok more than any other app during this time, as it “makes the quarantine a little more bearable” — especially while she and her husband juggle homeschooling and childcare for their 9-year-old son, 7-year-old son, 4-year-old daughter and 3-year-old twin girls, who are all home during this time.

“I definitely see more families turning to TikTok as an escape and savior,” she says. “I love nothing more than sharing funny TikToks with my family. It makes us laugh until we cry sometimes and I'm thankful for the positive content.”

And unlike other social media platforms that she’s used throughout her nine-year career as a content creator, Pearson stresses that TikTok has provided an outlet for the whole family with dances and challenges that they can all do together.

“My kids love watching TikTok with me and they love dancing and being involved with my TikToks as well. It's been a fun family bonding activity,” Pearson explains. “It brings people together and the world needs that more than ever right now.”

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.

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