What Affect is TikTok Having on Our Kids?
Who are these kids, and what are they doing?
The answer is easy: They’re your kids. And they’re using their phones to create videos of themselves singing, dancing, lip syncing or otherwise acting silly in ways you never imagined possible.
Welcome to the world of TikTok!
Fortunately for all concerned (except maybe your phone bill), this is not a bad thing at all.
TikTok (which used to be called Musical.ly) lets you create 15-second videos of yourself lip syncing, singing or dancing along to popular songs, watching dance crazes like the “floss” or doing other little vignettes that are catching kids’ imaginations.
You shoot your video with your phone, choose your background music, then post it for everyone to see.
TikTok was created by Chinese company ByteDance which has quickly become one of the most popular video apps among teens aged 13-18 years old with millions of users on average per day, according to analytics company Sensor Tower.
The app is currently number 4 on the Apple App Store Top Free Apps chart (at time of writing).
TikTok’s rapid rise in popularity has caught many parents off-guard; suddenly children are spending hours lip syncing along to movie songs or acting out their favorite comedy skits while their concerned parents wonder what all the fuss is about.
TikTok does not require its users—who range from young tweens to adults—to have a profile photo, so it can be harder to tell which kids on the app are children and which are adults.
The average user spends 37 minutes per day on TikTok, according to Sensor Tower data.
1. What are teens/kids using it for?
TikTok is really all about the performance! You choose a song, a clip or a video from YouTube and then lip sync along to the words so you can share it with your friends!
2. Is it safe?
Almost everyone agrees that your child is safest when they are supervised by you - which, of course, applies to social media, too.
The same rules apply with TikTok as elsewhere on the internet: Keep an eye out for bullying, report any problems to the platform, keep devices in shared spaces or control access with parental settings etc.
Most parents find these guidelines easy to follow across all their children's activities online, and they apply to TikTok too.
3. What's the difference between Instagram/YouTube videos and TikTok?
Humor is subjective – You may not like what you see your child watching or posting on social media, but as long as they aren’t in danger it’s probably OK as a parent.
With TikTok there is no exception: There are kids who find making ridiculous faces funny, others lip syncing to song lyrics, or acting out scenes from their favorite TV show.
The key point here is that parental involvement should be encouraged by all means possible!
4. The positives of TikTok
TikTok is a haven for those who want to express themselves creatively, as it is often the first app that teens turn to when they’re feeling bored or creative.
It allows users to create their own masterpieces as well as sharing their favorite songs with others; if this was not possible we would probably see less young people using the app – TikTok would not be rich in content.
Consequently, we can say that creativity is one of the major positive impacts of TikTok on children and teenagers (and adults too!).
Expression of emotions through dance/lip syncing etc.
While some kids use TikTok for fun and entertainment purposes others use it as a way of expressing their true self.
The anonymity of the app is taken away when you have to use your own face but also, once again, it allows for creativity in what you choose to lip sync or dance too... It's not just about lip syncing along to song lyrics either.
The beauty of the app is that you can record absolutely anything! The possibilities are endless!
Connection with others
When Tik Tok users find a good song, they like to share it with friends or followers so as many people as possible can enjoy listening or watching one simple video.
This means that kids are able to connect with children all over the world who enjoy creating content themselves and sharing it online through tales, likes, etc.
The ability to chat with these other creators is also a fantastic way for children to make new friends and learn about other cultures.
5. The negatives of TikTok
The downside of a free app with no age restrictions is that extreme content can be found on it alongside the more innocuous videos that many parents would find completely acceptable.
Anyone who has been watching closely will have seen users getting “In the Way” tattoos or posting gross-out memes involving hairballs from cats.
In order to reap the benefits outlined above without exposing your child to any potentially harmful content, parents should stay vigilant once again! It's true that kids see these things all over social media but there are stricter guidelines in place for YouTube/Instagram, etc.
Whilst kids might be exposed to (and/or uploading) content that parents would prefer they didn't see, it should still be noted that nothing can come close to the extremes of other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc.
While bullying is never acceptable, this behavior occurs in every corner of the Internet and as such it should not be surprising that it can crop up on TikTok too.
For parents, this means it’s even more important to keep an eye out for any problems – you know your child best so if something feels wrong then there probably is!
If your child seems upset after using TikTok – or they use the app without telling you – don't panic: Keep an open dialogue with them and ask how it made them feel and whether anyone said anything hurtful or inappropriate.
It's also OK to tell them that just because someone says something online does not mean it’s true!
Last, but not least, we come to the most dangerous aspect of TikTok: addiction.
While there is no scientific evidence to prove that kids are becoming addicted to TikTok, the anecdotal evidence seems pretty strong – this is a fun app and it can be easy for users to lose track of time while watching other videos or creating their own.
Parents should discourage children from spending too much time on social media apps in general, as well as encouraging them to enjoy offline activities instead.
6. How to keep your kids safe on TikTok
Of course, it is not possible to completely stop your child from using TikTok, however, you can take steps to protect them.
- Make sure they have a strong password for their phone or tablet - they may still share these with their friends but that does not mean parents shouldn't try to keep other people out!
- Block the app on all other devices – parents should only ever allow access to specific apps on a case-by-case basis - otherwise it just creates confusion and frustration among users.
- Allow the app at home under supervision – ideally, you'll use the app together so that you can ensure nothing inappropriate slips through the net! Just remember that your child may feel embarrassed watching videos with mom or dad so try and pick appropriate videos first.
TikTok is a social media app that has been growing in popularity over the past year.
It is an app that allows users to create and share videos with others, and it can be a fun way for kids to connect with other children from all over the world.
However, there are also some potential dangers associated with using TikTok, such as extreme content, bullying, and addiction.
Parents should take steps to protect their children while they use the app, such as making sure they have a strong password, blocking the app on other devices, and supervising their use of the app.