TikTok… What you should know
  • 3.7 million active users
  • The average engagement time is 41 minutes per user each day

So… What is TikTok?

What is it used for? What should we keep an eye on? Most of all… How can you make TikTok a safer place for your children?

TikTok is a social media app where its users can create videos ranging from 15 seconds to 1 minute doing anything they like. The most popular videos to create are lip-syncing, dancing and challenges, with other, less popular choices being comedy skits, teaching and political debates. With options to ‘duet’ a video, where you can respond to a video made with your own video, TikTok can connect people from all around the world with a click of a button.

TikTok is used primarily for entertainment, but often people use the platform to gain a following and popularity amongst friends and strangers. It can be really easy and quick to gain a large following on TikTok, which keeps users coming back for more.

Now we know what TikTok is, what are the things we should be aware of in the app?

The app features a ‘for you page’ – similar to a Facebook or Instagram timeline, but you are not in control of what videos are shown to you. This can be great – you can be exposed to some really useful educational content, or see new dances and challenges that are trending.

The dangers of having a feed that you cannot control, however, are that absolutely anything could pop up. TikTok do have strict community guidelines, with the biggest no-no’s being:

      • Posting explicit content or nudity
      • Spamming comments
      • Bullying or harassing other users
      • Posting personal information

Where it’s really good that TikTok takes user safety so seriously, with billions of videos uploaded daily, there are bound to be some that fall through the cracks, and with no control over what videos could pop up, it is important to be aware of the parental controls you can set to make sure your children are as safe as possible whilst using the app.

How can we keep our children safe on TikTok?

First, we need to be aware of the age requirement for TikTok, which is age 13+. We understand that sometimes parents make the decision to allow their children onto apps before they meet the age requirements, which is completely the parents choice, and if the parents are happy and monitoring their children's activity, that is absolutely fine and safe.

TikTok has a page specifically for parents to read about their safety guidelines and tips for you to implement – https://support.tiktok.com/en/privacy-safety/for-parents-en

TikTok has a ‘Report’ feature, so if a video is inappropriate or upsetting, it can be reported, reviewed and taken down from the app.

Privacy Features

With TikTok, you can privatise almost everything on your account, including:

Comments: You can switch your comments off, filter them so only your friends can comment, or let everyone with a TikTok account comment on your videos. Please note that the default setting for comments is everyone.

Blocking: You can block users from seeing and interacting with your content on TikTok.

Direct Messages: There are two options for Direct Messages, which are off and friends only. You have to input your mobile number in order to send direct messages.

Account Privacy: You can have your account set to public, where anyone can view your account and videos, as well as your videos appearing on the ‘For You’ page, or your account can be private, where you can control who follows you and views your videos.

Duet: Similar to comments, you can turn duets off, so people cannot respond to your video with another video, or let your friends duet but not strangers, and lastly, you can let everyone duet your video if they wish to.