Campus TikTok Bans Won’t Stop Students From Using the App

The University of Texas and Auburn University are among the public colleges that have banned the use of TikTok on their official networks. Students remain undeterred and are finding workarounds to still use the app.
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  • Several state governors began banning TikTok last month from government networks and devices amid cybersecurity concerns.
  • Public institutions in these states introduced similar bans soon after to comply with state orders.
  • Students have already started using VPNs or disconnecting from their school's Wi-Fi to still scroll through the app.
  • Frequent TikTok users whose schools introduced bans still feel a loss because of the new rules.

Few social media apps have been as popular and beloved by Generation Z students as TikTok. So it's no surprise that many students aren't thrilled by recently announced bans of the app at big state schools.

In December, governors in Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, and Idaho banned TikTok from government networks and devices due to cybersecurity and privacy concerns.

To comply with these orders, several public colleges and universities enacted their own ban of the app from university devices and Wi-Fi networks. Not only has this left students unable to use TikTok while connected to their school's network, it also triggered the removal of university-administered accounts to be immediately deleted.

Students were quick to react to the news on TikTok while they still had the chance.

@cece.dabratt I’m not connecting to the Wi-Fi trust#greenscreen #viraltiktok #fypシ #college ♬ original sound - princessazula0

It’s a good day to be going to college out of state

♬ original sound - Taylor Dean

As one student pointed out in the caption of her video, she plans to just use the app without connecting to her school's Wi-Fi and using the data on her phone instead.

Other students have begun to use virtual private networks (VPNs) on their phone so they can still use TikTok while connected to their university's Wi-Fi.

Despite these workarounds, for many students, the inability to use the app on campus in the way they previously could still feels like a big loss.

Over the last few years, college students have increasingly used TikTok to share their experiences with campus life.

From The Black Menaces at Brigham Young University who exposed some commonly held views of racism, sexism, and homophobia on their campus to the sorority hopefuls on #RushTok detailing what it's like to try to enter the most sought-after sororities on their campus. TikTok has become the go-to social media platform for students to share what's going on in their college lives.

"We have an engineering TikTok that we go on just to make, like, lighthearted jokes about what it is to be an engineer," Nathan Aaron Texada, a senior at the University of Oklahoma, said to NBC News. "People can send those [to] incoming students, or just high school students, and now we can't have that."

Students of other popular university-administered accounts flocked to the comments after the announcements of the bans to express their disappointment.

@itsericaaberg Replying to @homiesexualbeing yeah but this took out the tiktok page i ran for my university 🥲 #tiktokban #tiktoknews #utdallas #temoc #greenscreen ♬ Kanye Better - J

Furthermore, many students think the bans feel unnecessary, whether they are frequent users of the app or not.

"You're taking something away from students who have nothing to do with the government or government technology for the state of Alabama," Christopher Graham, a junior at Auburn University, said to NBC News.

As more states continue to introduce orders banning the use of TikTok on official networks and devices, we may see more colleges follow suit. Even if a state governor bans TikTok from government devices, colleges and universities in that state are not required to restrict it from their internet access.