If you've got tweens or teens in your house you've probably noticed that there's a "new" social media app that's been monopolizing their time lately. TikTok is the most recent social media app to gain popularity among the kids these days, only it's not really that new. Tik Tok is basically an updated version of Musical.ly, another hugely popular music-based app that merged with the existing TikTok app that originally launched in China. With it becoming more and more popular, parents are asking "Is Tik Tok safe for kids? Let's take a look?
OK What Is TikTok?
TikTok lets kids record their own 15-second video clips set to famous songs or viral audio clips. They might lip-sync, dance, do short comedy bits or anything screen-worthy all in the hopes of going viral. TikTok is huge among young influencers and content creators and has probably been dominating much of your children's screen time.
Is TikTok Safe For Kids?
As with all new social media sites that kids are using, parents are understandably concerned about whether or not they're safe. Of course, anytime a child is using an app on the internet there's a risk of exposure, but, like Common Sense Media states, "it's possible for kids to safely use the app with adult supervision (and a private account)."
Basically like many other social media sites, you can set the privacy settings on your child's account to "private" so you can ensure only those you have approved can view their videos and contact them. TikTok doesn't have parental controls outside of being able to control privacy settings so it's important that if you're concerned about your children using the app that you monitor their settings.
it is now law for everyone to order paninis this way pic.twitter.com/hjPBFXAoOk— TikTok (@tiktok_us) October 2, 2019
TikTok Does Have Some Content You Should Be Aware Of
While most TikToks are harmless there are always some that can venture into territory you may not want your child exposed to. Some of the popular songs that have gone viral thanks to the app are explicit, and some creators use profanity in their TikToks, while others dress provocatively while filming. Some parents have reported predators contacting their children through the app and asking for the child to send nude pictures as well. The content isn't always kid-friendly, which is why parents should be monitoring their kids if they're using the app.
If you feel out of touch not knowing a lot about TikTok, don't worry because a lot of parents are feeling the same. Actress Reese Witherspoon recently asked her 15-year-old son Deacon to explain TikTok to her and help her film her first video. Deacon was very patient with his curious mom but still uttered a "that's so embarrassing" when Reese busted out what she thought was some classic TikTok dance moves.
How Old Should My Child Be To Use TikTok?
Common Sense Media suggests that users of the app be at least 16 years old or older due to potential mature content and the issue of privacy, while TikTok requires users to be at least 13 years old. We all know that many kids younger than that are watching and sometimes creating TikToks, so the site suggests that if your younger child wants access to TikTok that parents ensure the account is created in their name and they have full access to monitor their child's access and viewing habits.