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Students Have Mixed Feelings on North Dakota's TikTok Ban

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education voted in March to ban the social media platform TikTok from all Internet networks and university-owned devices. Student reactions range from anger to agreement.

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(TNS) — Following the decision to implement a ban on accessing TikTok via university networks ahead of schedule, students at UND and NDSU expressed mixed reactions.

"I'm conflicted about it because I understand why they did it, but then at the same time, TikTok is amazing," said Tyrai Schroader, a UND freshman living on campus. "I'm not really mad about it. It really doesn't matter to me because I have a hotspot, so I can go on it whenever."

Citing national security concerns, the State Board of Higher Education voted in March to ban the social media platform from all Internet networks and university-owned devices within the North Dakota University System.

The ban — which took effect June 20, 10 days before the July 1 deadline set by the state board — does not preclude individuals from accessing the platform on their personal devices via cellular data networks.

Billie Jo Lorius, director of communications and media for the NDUS, said the ban was implemented early to account for any potential logistical hurdles.

"The security team wanted to make sure we could implement the ban by deadline, so it was done this week to ensure we could make the July 1 deadline," Lorius said. "It was banned on the system's Core Technology Services controls.

David Dodds, UND communications director, echoed Lorius' sentiments, stating that the university's department of information technology wanted to ensure it was in full compliance with the ban prior to the deadline.

Kagan Huber, NDSU sophomore and football player, was unaware of the TikTok ban. Huber lives in on-campus housing but said they have their own Wi-Fi and don't use the school's.

When asked how he felt about not being able to access TikTok at school anymore, Huber replied, "It's different, I guess."

Lateesha Schroaber, a freshman at UND, said that although she was initially upset with the ban, it led her to re-examine the amount of time she spends on TikTok.

"I was kind of mad about it at first, but then after a while, I was like, 'OK, maybe that's a sign for me to stop going on TikTok,'" she said, noting that her time spent on the platform was recorded as 15 hours according to her iPhone's screen time function.

Schroaber also said that since TikTok is banned from the university's Internet network, relying on cellular data has increased her phone bill.

The Herald's Maeve Hushman and the Forum's Paige Naughton contributed to this report.

©2023 the Grand Forks Herald (Grand Forks, N.D.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.