Centennials on TikTok: type of video. Analysis and comparative Spain- Great Britain by gender, age, and nationality
Centennials en TikTok: tipología de vídeos. Análisis y comparativa España-Gran Bretaña por género, edad y nacionalidad

Rebeca Suárez-Álvarez1
Antonio García-Jiménez1

1Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. España.

Introduction: TikTok is a digital native social network that has managed to generate interest among teenagers through which they share their audiovisual productions from mobile devices, but what type of content do teenagers create and disseminate on this application? We address this issue to find out the type of videos that Spanish and British teenage tiktokers are uploading to this social network. Methodology: Using content analysis methodology, 447 videos from 12 British and 12 Spanish tiktokers aged between 11 and 17 with more than half a million followers are studied. It provides analysis by nationality and a comparative view of both nationalities. Results: Contents created and disseminated by both genders and nationalities are video-selfies, choreographies, and videos with a fun purpose. Results show 16 and 17-year-old are the most active on this social network. Spanish and British teenagers create and disseminate videos with similar content. They show is age, not gender, determining variable for their digital productions. It is observed boys abandon video games to give way to a more protagonist self-representation in this social network. Discussion and conclusions: There is a lack of plurality in the type of content created and disseminated on TikTok by both genders and nationalities. It is interesting to note the attenuation of the traditional gender roles that teenagers show in their audio-visual productions on TikTok, which reflect the possible gender-related development into their behavior on social networks.

Keywords: TikTok, social networks, centennials, teenagers, gender, age, consume.

Introducción: TikTok es una red social nativa digital que ha logrado generar el interés entre los adolescentes pero ¿qué tipo de contenidos crean y difunden en esta aplicación? Abordamos esta pregunta con el objetivo de conocer la tipología de vídeos que están subiendo los tiktokers adolescentes españoles y británicos a sus perfiles en esta red social. Metodología: Mediante metodología de análisis de contenido se estudian 447 vídeos de 12 tiktokers británicos y 12 españoles chicos y chicas de entre 11 y 17 años con más de medio millón de seguidores, con una visión individual y comparada de ambas nacionalidades. Resultados: Los contenidos que crean y difunden
ambos géneros y nacionalidades son videoselfies, coreografías y vídeos con finalidad divertida. Los resultados muestran que los adolescentes de 16 y 17 años son los más activos en esta red social. Españoles y británicos crean y difunden vídeos con contenidos similares, siendo la edad, y no el género, la variable determinante para su producción digital. Se observa que los chicos abandonan los videojuegos para dar lugar a una auto-representación más protagónica. Discusión y conclusiones: Se observa una carencia en la pluralidad del tipo de contenidos que crean y difunden en TikTok ambos géneros y nacionalidades. Resulta interesante la atenuación de los tradicionales roles de género que los centennials muestran en sus producciones audiovisuales en TikTok, lo que refleja la posible evolución de su comportamiento de género en las redes sociales.

Palabras clave: TikTok, redes sociales, centennials, adolescentes, género, edad, consumo.

1. Introduction. 1.1. TikTok and teens. 1.2. Differences by age, gender, and nationality. 2. Objectives and research questions. 3. Methodology. 3.1. Sample selection criteria; 3.2. Coding of variables. 4. Results. 4.1. Typology of Spanish tiktoker’s content. 4.2. Typology of British tiktoker’s content. 4.3. Comparison of Spanish-British tiktokers: gender, age, and nationality in the videos created and disseminated. 5. Conclusions and discussion. 6. Future research. 7. Bibliography 8. Curriculum Vitae.

Rebeca Suárez-Álvarez. Rey Juan Carlos University. Spain.
Antonio García-Jiménez. Rey Juan Carlos University. Spain.

Recibido: 02/03/2021.
Aceptado: 26/05/2021.
Publicado: 07/06/2021.

How to cite this article / Standard reference
Suárez-Álvarez, R., García-Jiménez, A. (2021). Centennials on TikTok: type of video. Analysis and comparative Spain- Great Britain by gender, age, and nationality. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 79, 1-22.

This article is circumscribed in the project “New scenarios of digital vulnerability: media literacy for an inclusive society” PROVULDIG-2-CM (ref. H2019 / HUM5775), financed by CAM and the European Social Fund (01/01/2020-31/12/2022). The project is linked to GICOMSOC, a research group of the Rey Juan Carlos University. 

Translation by Paula González (Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Venezuela).

1. Introduction

Video social networks have become the new communication channels for centennials, teens, who, beyond the age limits made by McGorry and McGorry, (2017) and Sharma (2019) who try to circumscribe them between 1997 and approximately 2015, are a digital-native generation for whom digital technologies are a natural part of their world, which they access from different devices daily and by which they feel influenced (Qasem, 2021; Smith & Mills, 2019). In them, they share their lives through their audiovisual productions in a growing hyperconnectivity (Zlamal, et al., 2020). Some of these platforms have perished such as Vine (converted into Byte) and Lasso, a kind of copy of TikTok that closed in July 2020 (López, 2020; Martín, 2020). Others such as YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook have achieved greater success.
The latest to emerge, in 2018, is the social media app TikTok that has achieved more than 800 million monthly active users (We Are Social and Hootsuite, 2020) of which 90% access the app daily (Sensor Tower, 2020). TikTok has become the seventh social network in the world and the only one that does not belong to the Facebook business group. In 2020, there has been an increase of 60% of unique users (We Are Social and Hootsuite, 2019) and, during the total confinement in Spain and partial confinement in Great Britain (UK), in March 2020, the platform was the most downloaded app worldwide, not related with video games, with more than 115.2 million downloads, which represents an increase of 98.4% compared to the previous year (Sensor Tower, 2020).
In Spain and the UK, TikTok was the most downloaded social media app during 2020 (Sensor Tower, 2020). In the UK, it was ahead of Instagram and Snapchat (We are social, 2020) and in Spain, it was ahead of WhatsApp and Instagram (Statista, 2020a). During March-April 2020, the platform increased its consumption by 150% compared to the previous year until reaching 71 minutes in 2020, becoming a direct competition of YouTube in which minors spent 75 minutes a day (Qustoio, 2020). In the UK, 13% of minors between the ages of 12 and 15 use TikTok (The Office of Communications [Ofcom], 2020) with an average daily time of 41 minutes compared to 75 on YouTube (Statista, 2020b). Figures that, as in Spain, have increased during the COVID-19 health crisis, surpassing YouTube with an average daily viewing of 83 minutes among adolescents in this country (Qustodio, 2020). This predilection of teenagers for this social network can lead to a potential migration of adolescents from one social network to another (Marcelino, 2015) or in the most foreseeable current situation centered on the possession of profiles in various social networks, giving rise to overexposure (Gonzales and Hancock, 2011).
The interest of adolescents in this social network of short videos, strengthened by the digital context in which they are growing up (Bleakley, Ellithorpe, & Romer, 2016), leads to research what content they are sharing on this social network, as has happened from different approaches with YouTube (García and Montes, 2020), Instagram (Anggreni, 2019), Facebook (Botou and Marsellos, 2018), Snapchat (Bruna, 2020), or studies combined with Vine and YouTube (Yarohs, et al, 2016).

1.1. TikTok and teens

On TikTok, users known as tiktokers upload their content profiles created by themselves as cultural producers (Hubermann, 2020) in which adolescents express their opinions and construct their identity performatively (Shutsko, 2020). Studying these practices as audiovisual producers, Goffman's Theory of Social Action (2009) serves as a theoretical approach to this research to address the themes that adolescents create and disseminate on social networks, and that Yarohs, et al., (2016) in their content analysis on Vine and YouTube, McRoberts et al., (2017) on Snapchat, and Djafarova and Trofimenk (2017) on Instagram, address in the behavior and staging of the performative self of adolescents.
The self-production of teens on TikTok is based on the interpretation of short videos based on musical fragments (Klug, 2020) that has emerged in a kind of visual playground (Anderson, 2020) in which adolescents stimulate the practices to remix music (Bresnick, 2019) and learn skills such as interpreting and performing dance movements (Ahlse, Nilsson, and Sandström, 2020). Bossen and Kottasz (2020), Wang (2020a), and Yang, Zhao, and Ma (2019) point to entertainment, socialization, and creative self-expression as the main predictors of their content consumption and production on TikTok. In them, teenagers mitigate their need for self-expression by sharing content, an aspect about which Van Dijck (2019) is critical since he considers that adolescents use social networks mainly as tools for personal self-promotion in which they show their lifestyles and personality to offer their followers content that interest them (Pedraza and Villagarra, 2019). López de Ayala and Paniagua (2019) grant them collaborative purposes based on the need to influence others and to feel useful to society.
Bossen and Kottasz (2020) study the use of TikTok by pre-teens and teens and point out that pre-teens are more active users than teens in this social network, in which they also seek social recognition and the search for fame as persuasive items for its use. Patel and Binjola (2020) also conclude that this platform facilitates creative expression and the promotion of talent by allowing adolescents to portray themselves as celebrities. In this same line of work, Leight (2019) points out that TikTok is attractive to them because of the opportunity it offers them to quickly become famous. New digital celebrities with whom they feel more identified than with traditional celebrities as endorsed by Djafarova and Rushworth (2019) in their study of "Instafamous" profiles on Instagram. However, Bossen and Kottasz (2020) point out that passive consumption behaviors predominate in TikTok, conforming with the appraisals of Edelmann (2017), which points out the fact that most of the Internet users of social networks do not produce content, but rather observe and visualize those offered by others, equally valuable behaviors that make them “marauders” of digital activity (Gazit, et al., 2018; Romero-Hall, 2017).
There is little literature focused on analyzing in a quantitative way and from a comparative perspective of two nationalities, the typology of videos that adolescents are sharing on TikTok, which highlights the need for this research. There are studies linked to the content that teenagers are sharing in their profiles on other social networks. Tur-Viñes, Núñez-Gómez, and González-Río (2021) in their research on the 5 Spanish channels for minors with the highest number of visitors and YouTube subscribers point out that most of the videos they publish focus on games, narratives, show products, challenges, and tutorials. Yarohs et al., (2016) have worked with the identification of the content that adolescents share as content creators on the social networks YouTube and Vine. On YouTube, the videos in which they carry out daily activities (44%), video-selfies (25%), and tutorials (14%) stand out; while on Vine, they choose to share content focused on choreography (62%), funny videos alone or with others (41%), and content created from various sources (11%). On Instagram, Sulistyo (2018) points out that adolescents create videos made to entertain whose theme focuses on informative, educational, and promotional videos for products or services. Furthermore, he points out that adolescents take as inspiration for their audiovisual productions, instagramers that they consider successful, in line with the conclusions of Sherman, et al., 2018 and Sherman, et al., 2016 that in the same social network confirm the influence of peers in the creation and dissemination of teens’ content with shared virtual connections.
A relevant issue, although it does not fall within the direct objectives of this work, is that referred to the narratives that are incorporated in the videos of social networks. As González (2018) suggests, in some of them, digital audiovisual narrative merges with aesthetics, characterized by discontinuity, interactivity, dynamism, vitality, the creation of ethereal and ephemeral worlds, and the promotion of virtual communities (Holtzman, 1997). Qualities that continue to be valid and to which Suing, Carpio, and Sinche (2020) add tolerance to the low quality of content, Pérez-Rufí (2018) innovation of language to use it creatively, and Ródenas, Ferreras, and Torrado (2021) the break with unidirectionality and its elaboration through various devices and technologies. Moreover, these creative units provide meanings of reality based on the interaction and participation that is generated as a result of them (Jauregui & Ortega, 2020) turning these stories into new worlds and experiences in which everyone can participate, listen, and be heard (Costa, 2013).

1.2. Differences by age, gender, and nationality

Montes-Vozmediano, García-Jiménez, and Menor-Sendra (2018) certify the relationship between the authorship of the videos and the type of content that adolescents consume and point out that the videos of teen YouTubers focus mainly on fun content, choreography, remixes, and selfies. They point out that the videos of teenage YouTubers are the most viewed, the ones that have the greatest impact, and whose purpose is eminently fun. Haddon and Vicent (2015) point out that the type of consumption changes and evolves with the age of the minors and García-Jiménez, López-de-Ayala López, and Montes-Vozmediano (2020) confirm that age is shown as a variable of reference in access to social networks such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and YouTube, coinciding in their socialization and entertainment as the main motivations for use.
The production, consumption, and dissemination of leisure content on social networks show differences concerning the gender of adolescents (Fernández-de-Arroyabe, Lazkano-Arrillaga, and Eguskiza-Sesumaga, 2018). Bossen and Kottasz (2020) have observed that pre-adolescent girls are the largest users of TikTok with passive behaviors of consumption (viewing), participation (liking and sharing content), and contribution of content. From the female point of view, Wang (2020b) researches the Personal Branding strategies of girls on TikTok to attract followers and highlights that girls preferentially share videos with simple backgrounds with casual clothing, although she detects differences between Chinese girls who prefer to use complicated editing techniques in their videos on Douyin (TikTok in China) and the American ones who prefer simpler edits. In the same social network, Khattab (2019) studies the facial, body, and attire expressions of users of three TikTok challenges and concludes that TikTok illustrates the normalization of stereotypical body images of beauty and gender.
In other social networks, Booker, Kelly, and Sacker (2018) point out gender differences in the use of social networks and well-being in adolescents between 10 and 15 years old in the UK and highlight important differences between boys and girls. They state that the intensive use of social networks in early adolescence has implications for their social-emotional development in late adolescence, especially in girls. In boys, they do not appreciate this relationship and refer to their preference for videogames compared to the greater interaction in the social networks of girls, like Witt, Massman, and Jackson (2011) also point out in their research on trends in the use of videogames by teenagers.
Maloney, Roberts, and Caruso (2017) and Blanco-Ruiz and Sainz-de-Baranda (2018) conclude that on YouTube it is the boys who lead the creative and video production facets, and Regueira, Alonso-Ferreiro, and Da-Vila (2020) confirm that it is the boys' channels that achieve the highest number of subscribers and views with a lower female representation in the Instagram accounts of the 50 most successful YouTubers in Spain. They coincide with Wotanis and MacMillan (2014) in the presence of gender inequalities in this social network, the perpetuation of gender stereotype roles, and greater social interaction in the case of girls who focus their production on photographs and videos of themselves compared to the boys who opt for the production and visualization of videogames.
Regarding nationality, Catalina-García, Sousa, and Sousa (2019) in their study with students from Brazil, Spain, and Portugal on their political-social behavior in social networks point out that, although nationality does not segment young people by social networks, they detect differences in terms of preference for one or the other social network: the Portuguese prefer to have profiles on Instagram and YouTube, Brazilians on Facebook, and the Spanish on Twitter, with YouTube being the social network to which they give greater credibility, especially the Portuguese. Luque, Tejedor, and Bugs (2017) point out that the main motivations for the use of social networks by Spaniards and Latin Americans are the communication with which they form a bond of belonging to a collective identity, not being excluded from the group, and achieving the recognition of others in the virtual context. No studies have been found that analyze the content created and disseminated by Spanish and British adolescents, taking into account their differences by nationality.

2. Objectives and research questions

The objective of this research is to determine the types of content that adolescents publish on TikTok, offering a comparative dimension between teenagers in Spain and the UK. Both countries have been selected for their cultural, economic, and socio-political differences to study whether Spanish and British centennials share similar content or if these differences determine the content they create and disseminate on this social network. It is researched to determine which are the topics that most interest them taking into account their gender, nationality, and age, since pre-adolescents belonging to early adolescence (10-13 years), middle (14-16 years), and late (17-19 years) (United Nations Children's Fund [UNICEF], 2020) do not behave in the same way.
The producers of the videos are teenagers who upload and disseminate their audiovisual content to gain a greater share of prominence (Aguaded and Sánchez, 2013) in their own, agile, and short creations. Research is being carried out on what content adolescents are sharing on other social networks, but the social network TikTok has not yet been studied in-depth, taking into account the gender, age, and nationality of the authors. It is necessary to study what types of videos they are uploading, understood as those topics that teens find interesting as a means of communication with their peers (Lenhart, 2015). To do this, the following questions are posed:

3. Methodology

For the research, content analysis methodology (Baños-González, Canorea, and Rajas, 2020; Krippendorff, 2018) has been applied as a quantitative scientific method that allows evaluating digital messages (McMillan, 2009; Richards, 2020) disseminated by Spanish and British teens to establish and know what types of audiovisual content they contribute to this social network. The research carried out is exploratory-descriptive to identify practices and strategies of the users of the videos that teens create. Their daily staging in the creation of videos and active participation in the social network allows us to know how they represent themselves according to the type of audiovisual content that they decide to share on their TikTok channels.
The one-way ANOVA analysis of variance statistics tests are used to evaluate the relevance of one or more factors to compare the average of the response variables, extended with the multivariate version with the Brown-Forsythe test. Likewise, the Pearson correlation coefficient is applied with the Chi-Square test that allows contrasting and confirming the observed frequencies with those expected to guarantee the validity and reliability of the results.

3.1. Sample selection criteria

The sample unit of the study is the videos that teens have uploaded to this social network. The selection of the sample comprises 447 videos from 12 accounts of Spanish adolescents and 12 of UK adolescents between 11 and 17 years old from January 6th to October 29th, 2020. The period of the sample is formalized following the publications of adolescents up to 20 videos in each account, except in the case of a British girl who contributed 17 videos to this social network during the studied period.
To carry out the study compared by gender and nationality, accounts belonging to 6 boys and 6 girls of both nationalities were selected following the criteria of the number of followers (more than half a million) and that are known for their activity on this social network, and not by other popular professions such as singers or actors. To study videos that have generated interest in the audience, each sample unit reaches more than a thousand reproductions each. A figure that is also decisive since starting from it, teens can begin to monetize their audiovisual productions on social networks according to the income metric calculated by the RPM (Revenue Per Thousand) rate.
The gender of the tiktokers has been verified by viewing all the videos. Age and nationality have been confirmed through Google and Bing search engines, the registration of information that adolescents include in their accounts, and on the website that collects updated information on celebrities from TikTok.

Table 1. Sample selection.

Source: self-made.

The account @aynoficial belongs to two Spanish male brothers who share a channel and both appear in all the videos. These siblings are of different ages (the youngest is 15 years old and the oldest is 17 years old). To ensure a rigorous statistical analysis in which both ages are included in the study, the number of videos in both age groups has doubled: 20 videos for the 15-year-old group and 20 videos for the 17-year-old group. During the analysis of the sample, no 13-year-old girl of both nationalities was found who meets the selection criteria, which is why they are excluded from the study (Table 1).

3.2. Coding of variables

Based on Yarosh, et al., (2016) and García and Montes (2020), the categorization of the registered variables has been carried out and adapted, for which an analysis card structured in two sections was designed. The first registers the name of the channel, the date of publication, title, gender of the author, and their age, and the second the type of content.
The typology of the videos or type of content is divided into eight categories according to the research studied:

  1. Videogames in which teens play, comment, and show their skills and abilities in the development of goals and achievements set by video games. For example, the video of the tiktoker @cesar_abril (, taking into account that it shares other analysis categories.
  2. Choreographies or music videos in which the protagonists dance and interpret the songs, empowering themselves as interpreters of the content that is heard and viewed, and that they have selected. Taking into account that TikTok is a social network whose base is music, it was decided to grant it a category of its own to find out if teens are using this social network for more than dancing and singing, as shown in the obtained results. For example, the video of @havannawinter (, taking into account that it shares other analysis categories.
  3. Videos that collect conventional scenes that take place without a script or prior planning in which the teenager performs some daily activity of their day to day such as studying, showering, or brushing their teeth. For example, the video of @jooaquinrs (, bearing in mind that it shares other analysis categories.
  4. Funny videos in which the reproduction of atypical activities whose purpose is to entertain and amuse the audience through actions oriented to this end based on active, fun, and carefree attitudes as well as jokes and gags whose purpose is to evoke happiness in the audience are collected. For example, the video of @kylethomas (, bearing in mind that it shares other analysis categories.
  5. Videos of events in which the tiktoker shows or narrates sporting events, concerts, or other organized activities that they have attended. No video has been registered in this category.
  6. Video tutorials in which teens are shown guiding a process or procedure that their followers must carry out when doing a certain activity such as playing, putting on make-up, or recommendations on how to increase physical resistance through sports. For example, the video of @martindant (, bearing in mind that it shares other analysis categories.
  7. Videos with animals or in which the animal or pet that the teen shows on camera co-stars in the content. For example, the video of @hanamartinx (, taking into account that it shares other analysis categories.
  8. Video-selfies based on informal unscripted audiovisual productions in which the influencer is shown authentically, to generate a positive impact on their followers by acquiring the leading role by the way they pose or by how they present or express themselves in camera. For example, the video of @abe.oficial (, taking into account that it shares other analysis categories.

4. Results

In the record of audiovisual productions, it is noted that all the videos analyzed share two or more types of content, reaching 958 types of content, which shows the difficulty of study that this type of quantitative research entails. Likewise, it is observed that no video uploaded by teens of both nationalities belongs to the type of event content in which the protagonists tell or show an event they have attended. Furthermore, the Spanish do not address the category of videos with animals and the British productions related to videogames. This modification of the proposals made by the explored scientific works highlights the evolution of the audiovisual content that teenagers are creating and disseminating on their social media channels as well as the continuous need for research and updating of the digital reality in which adolescents are growing up.

4.1. Typology of Spanish tiktoker’s content

Spanish tiktokers have broadcast 240 audiovisual productions. The videos of Spanish adolescents are video-selfies (52%) and videos of choreographies and dances (32%). Spanish teenagers also create and broadcast videos whose purpose is to entertain through jokes or funny actions (12%) and performing daily or conventional actions (4%), such as doing homework or getting ready to go out. By gender, 17-year-old boys publish the most content with 25% of the production, followed by girls with 17% of the total.
To study whether gender and age are related to the creation and dissemination of these audiovisual content, the variables of gender and age are analyzed separately to estimate whether any of the two presents a greater association with the type of content published. First, the observations are grouped by gender and it is observed that boys and girls upload a similar number of types of content in their productions (Table 2).

Table 2. Distribution of observations by type of content and gender.

Source: self-made.

Applying the chi-square test to analyze whether there is a relationship between gender and the type of content, the result χ2 (5) = 4,565,p = 0,471, much lower than the critical value of  (χ2 = 11,070)
shows that both variables do not have a dependency relationship, with a trust level of 95%. These results indicate that gender does not determine the creation and dissemination of the videos that go viral on this social network.
Secondly, it is researched whether age represents a significant variable in the type of videos that teens upload to this social network and highlights that 16-and-17-year-old teens upload 49% of the videos followed by 14-year-old teens with 26% of the total (Table 3).

Table 3. Distribution of observations by type of content and age.

Source: self-made.

The chi-square values  (χ2 (20) = 30,717, p = 0,06) confirm that, with a critical value of  χ2 = 31,410, age is not related to the type of content published. Therefore, the type of content in audiovisual productions is not associated with the age and gender of the Spanish tiktokers.

4.2. Typology of British tiktoker’s content

British tiktokers have created and disseminated 237 videos. The videos of British teenagers are video-selfies (50%), choreographies and music videos (25%), and funny videos (20%). By gender, 16-year-old boys publish the most content within the selected categories (36%), followed by 17-year-old girls with 24% of the total, and 17-year-old boys with 17% of the total.
To offer an X-ray of the videos uploaded to their accounts, as in the analysis of Spanish tiktokers, it is checked whether any of the variables (gender and age) have a greater association with the type of content published. As is the case for Spaniards, British boys and girls publish videos of choreographies, music videos, and video-selfies, but in this case, the boys are the ones who most upload funny videos on their TikTok channels (boys 23% n=67; girls 17% n=36). In the first place, the observations concerning gender are studied and it is found that British boys (57%) are the ones who incorporate the greatest number of contents in their videos (Table 4).

Table 4. Distribution of observations by types of content and gender.

Source: self-made

To analyze the relationship between gender and type of content, the chi-square test, with a trust level of 95%, reveals (χ2 (5) = 7,027, p =0,219) , much lower than the critical value of  χ2 = 11.070 that the gender variables and the type of content published are not related.
Secondly, observations are grouped by type of content and age and, like Spanish teenagers, it is the centennials aged 16 and 17 who show the highest productivity, reaching 71% of the type of videos (Table 5).

Table 5. Distribution of observations by type of content and age.

Source: self-made.

To confirm the existence of a statistical relationship between age and the type of videos published on their TikTok accounts, the result of applying the chi-square value to the previous table is χ2 (20) = 53,607, p < 0,01, which, in this case, is higher than the critical value of χ2 = 31,410  , allows to conclude the dependency relationship between both variables, and that it is the age that determines what type of content British adolescents decide to create and disseminate.

4.3. Comparison of Spanish-British tiktokers: gender, age, and nationality in the videos created and disseminated

To check which type of content the centennial adolescents of both nationalities are uploading, the variables of gender, age, and nationality are disaggregated. In the first place, regarding the gender of the authors (Table 6), it is observed that boys of both nationalities (54%) are the ones that integrate the greatest amount of type of content in their videos. To confirm whether gender is statistically related to the content they publish, Pearson's chi-square test, with a 95% trust level, χ2 (6) = 6,092, p = 0,413 shows the independence relationship between the analyzed variables. 

Table 6. Distribution of observations by type of content and age.

Source: self-made.

In the next stage of the analysis, the ages and the type of content are grouped. In line with the results of the individual analysis by nationality, it is confirmed that 61% of the total production of both nationalities are created and disseminated by adolescents aged 16 and 17, focusing on video-selfies (50% n=290), videos with choreographies and music videos (35% n=142), and funny videos (20xx% n=113) (Table 7). To know if age is a determining factor in the audiovisual productions that centennials incorporate in their videos, the frequency of the relationship between both variables is studied by calculating the chi-square value whose result χ2  (30) = 60,094, p < 0,001, higher than the critical value. χ2 = 43,773 shows the dependency association between the two variables, which confirms that depending on their age they choose to publish one type of content or another. 

Table 7. Distribution of observations by type of content and age.

Source: self-made.

Lastly, we explore the existence of a relationship between the content published by teens and their nationality. Spaniards choose to create videos of choreographies and music videos (53% of the total), followed by video-selfies (49% of the total), and funny videos (34% of the total). In the case of the British, funny videos (66% of the total), video-selfies (51% of the total), and music videos with choreographies (47% of the total) lead the results. It is noteworthy to note that no Spanish teenager shares videos with pets compared to 9 of the British and that only one video belongs to the category of videogames in which a Spanish tiktoker appears playing, which may indicate that this social network is not the preferred one to share this type of content (Table 8).

Table 8. Distribution of observations by type of content and nationality.


To prove the validity of the statistical conclusions and to know if there is a significant relationship between nationality and the type of content, the Pearson chi-square test  (χ/2) is applied with a trust level of 95%. The result obtained (χ2(6) =32,19, p < 0,001)  is higher than the theoretical value of 12.592, which corroborates the statistical relationship between the type of content and the nationality of the authors of the videos. Given that there is a relationship between both variables, the extended one-factor ANOVA test is performed using the Brown-Forsythe test to know if the number of contents per type differs according to the nationality of the teens. The result indicates (F (1,12) = 0,019, p = 0,892,)  that there is no evidence of a dependency relationship between the variables, which confirms the equality in the creation and dissemination of tiktokers of both nationalities.

5. Conclusions and discussion

The study of this social network is paradigmatic for understanding the content that adolescents are uploading, disseminating, and viewing in this new social network. This research reveals that the production and dissemination of Spanish and British centennials on TikTok are mainly focused on video-selfies, choreographies, and fun content whose purpose is to entertain their followers alone or accompanied by friends or family. This homogenization of content confirms that the creation and visualization of audiovisual content on TikTok do not guarantee the plurality of content that teenagers can access, but rather highlights the uniformity of the productions of adolescents, in line with the results of Masip, et al., (2015) who point out standardization of content in current information and social networks, and with Zhu, et al., (2020) in health content videos published on TikTok.
The results show that of the total type of content on TikTok, 71% are not just choreographies and music videos based on the interpretation of musical fragments, which shows that teenagers are adding self-expression and representation functionalities to their videos according to their interests and affinities (Angulo, 2019). These practices occur in line with Goffman's (2009) theory of the presentation of the person in everyday life applied to interactions in social networks in the context of new virtual sociability (Torres, 2016). Adolescents define the role they are going to symbolize, the stage, the action, and the representation by showing themselves in a setting of social performances and digital staging (Yarosh, et al., 2016) to create impressions on their audience and reflect an allegedly favorable identity that, as McRoberts, et al., (2017) point out, can lead to the creation of superficial content.
By gender, it is identified that 16-and-17-year-old boys and girls of both nationalities are the most active in this social network. British boys being the ones that incorporate the highest number of types of videos in their productions (Spaniards, 49%; British, 71%). It stands out that Spanish and British boys renounce videogames by modifying their digital self-representation in this social network, unearthing their hegemonic functionality as game players, as it does not happen in other social networks (Kaur and Kaur, 2017; Lange and Schwab, 2018; Maloney, Roberts, and Caruso, 2018). The reason may be the short length of the videos, which with a maximum duration of 60 seconds, does not allow them to expand on the narratives of the games that require more length. This evolution of the content that boys share, suggests the transmutation of the tastes and interests that they manifest in this social network as well as the influence that the platform itself exerts on them concerning the technical limitations of the platform and the commented content homogenization.
In light of the statistical study carried out, we can conclude that age, and not gender, and nationality show a greater statistical relationship with the types of content published and determine the type of content published, in the case of British teens, and the comparison made of both nationalities. These results point to an evolution of traditional gender roles that have been studied in other social networks such as YouTube and Instagram (Linares-Bahillo, Aristegui-Fradua, and Beloki-Marañón, 2019; Regueira, Alonso-Ferreiro, and Da-Vila, 2020; Ye, et al., 2018). Our results suggest that teenagers in this social network show similar behaviors regarding the content they produce and disseminate, leading to the fading of their gender differences, in line with the research by van Oosten and Vandenbosch (2017) that confirm gender equality in the stereotypical representations of adolescents in social networks and Korlat, et al (2021) who discover more gender similarities than differences in the self-descriptions that adolescents make of themselves in social networks.

Future research

For future research, it will be interesting to increase the sample to corroborate the results obtained. Likewise, it will be necessary to study the motivations of teenagers to opt for one social network or another, as well as the purpose they give to each one. Furthermore, given the ease of access to minors’ accounts on TikTok, the importance of examining the risks and dangers to which minors are exposed, their vulnerabilities, as well as parental mediation and the influence of peers in a social network developed exclusively for mobile devices are highlighted. It will also be relevant to formalize additional research on the advertising policies of the social network with which tiktokers can earn profits from their audiovisual creations.

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Rebeca Suárez-Álvarez
Ph.D. in Social Communication and professor in the Department of Communication and Sociology at the Rey Juan Carlos University. She has a degree in Journalism from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). She has two masters: one in radio at the (CEU) and the other in Communication of Public and Political Institutions (UCM). She is a member of the research group on Communication, Society, and Culture (GICOMSOC). Her main lines of research are communication and vulnerable audiences (minors), new media, media literacy, and digital competence. She has participated in different research projects and is currently a researcher in the project “New scenarios of digital vulnerability: media literacy for an inclusive society” (PROVULDIG-2-CM) (ref. H2019/HUM5775), funded by CAM and the European Social Fund.
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Antonio García-Jiménez
Full Professor of Journalism at the Rey Juan Carlos University (Department of Communication and Sociology). Doctor in Information Sciences. Former Dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the Rey Juan Carlos University (2008-2014). He has also been director of the Master in Communication and Sociocultural Problems (2015-2018). Professor in the degree of Journalism and several masters of Communication (Social Media; Data Journalism). Main researcher of the research group on communication, society, and culture (GICOMSOC). He has directed or participated in 19 research projects related to digital uses and risks for adolescents and is the author of more than 24 contributions in the form of books or book chapters. He is a member of ECREA, IAMCR, and AE+IC.
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