With over 1.5 billion downloads, TikTok has been one of the world’s most downloaded apps in recent years. In fact, the video-sharing service was the most downloaded app on the Apple App Store in the first quarter of 2019 with users daily spending an average of 52 minutes on the app. Given the massive popularity of TikTok among youth (41% of all TikTok users are between 16 and 24), here are three questions every parent should ask about the social networking app:
What is TikTok?
In their own words, the app’s mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy as the leading destination for short-form mobile videos. More specifically, the app is a video-sharing networking service often used to create short lip-sync, comedy, dance, and talent videos. Users can create music and lip-sync videos of 3-15 seconds and other short looping videos of 3-60 seconds.
Is TikTok safe for kids?
According to the website Protect Young Eyes, TikTok is only intended for children 13 and older. Videos with foul language and songs with explicit lyrics are the biggest risks with TikTok, along with the “I want to be a TikTok Star!” pull that also can be addicting. Parents should also have open and honest discussions with their kids regarding the risk of online predators, especially regarding men looking for pretty, young girls.
What parental controls do I have with TikTok?
Protect Young Eyes recommends the following parental control options:
- Switch to a private account. (This prevents complete strangers from contacting your child.)
- Change the “Allow others to find me” toggle.
- Opt out of personalized data.
- Change all SAFETY settings to “friends.” (The default is set to “everyone.”)
- Enable Time Management and Restricted modes. (You can manage screen time with a 4-digit passcode).
- Check “following” and “followers” from time to time.
Additional Resources for Parents
Screen Time Rules the Experts Enforce in Their Own Homes
Teens Share Social Media Advice for Parents
5 Tips for Distraction-Free Parenting