TikTok has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. CyberSafeTT understands the urgency and concern expressed by many parents and guardians with this particular social media app and we would like to share some in-app features that will help parents manage their kids usage within the application.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a social network for sharing user-generated videos, mostly of people lip-synching to popular songs. It was originally called musical.ly (pronounced MU-zik-lee). Users can create and upload their own videos where they lip-synch, sing, dance, or just talk. You can also browse and interact with other users’ content, which covers a wide range of topics, songs, and styles.
How safe is TikTok?
Using any social network can be risky, but it’s possible for kids to safely use the app with adult supervision (and a private account). When you sign up for TikTok as a kid 13-15, your account is private by default, only friends can comment on videos, and other users can’t Duet with your videos. Only users 16 and over can livestream and use direct messaging, and only users over 18 can buy, send, or receive virtual gifts. Parents can also use Restricted Mode for some control or Family Pairing mode to pair their account with their kid’s to control settings completely.
How does TikTok work?
TikTok users sign up with a phone number, an email address, or a third-party account such as Facebook and Instagram. Once logged in, you can search popular creators, categories (comedy, animals, sports), and hashtags to find videos. Or you can use your phone contacts or social media followers to find friends already on the app. Many kids on Tik Tok like to create videos, but plenty of people don’t post themselves — they just use the app to find and follow content creators.
Is TikTok appropriate for kids?
Because of TikTok’s emphasis on popular music, many videos include unedited versions of the songs and do include swearing and sexual lyrics, so it may not be age-appropriate for kids to use on their own. It’s also easy to find people wearing revealing clothing and dancing suggestively, TikTok won’t let you search for objectionable content such as “sex” or “porn.”
What age is TikTok recommended for?
TikTok requires that users be at least 13 years old to use the full TikTok experience. That being said, any new user can choose whatever age they wish when signing up for an account.
Can kids under 13 use TikTok?
If your younger kid or tween wants to use the app, there’s a section of the app for kids under 13 that includes additional safety and privacy features. Kids can only see curated, clean videos, and aren’t allowed to comment, search, or post their own videos. However, the lack of these features makes it unappealing for most kids, and bypassing that section only requires entering a false birthdate, so it’s not perfect.
Parental Control Options
TikTok allows parental controls from two levels. One where you set it up directly on the kids phone and protected by a passcode and the other where you can remotely mange a kids TikTok account from your personal TikTok account.
To get started, you need to visit the Settings & Privacy section of TikTok.
Screen Time Management. This setting limits users to a maximum of two hours on the app per day, but you can limit it to 40 minutes. If you’re only enabling this on your kids phone, choose a passcode to lock the setting.
Restricted Mode. This blocks mature content, but even with the filter on, kids using the app on their own might come across age-inappropriate videos. Lock the setting with a passcode.
To set up Family Pairing so you can manage the above settings plus disable direct messaging, first download TikTok onto your phone and create an account. Then, make sure you have your kid’s phone and their TikTok log-in handy.
Family Pairing. On both phones, tap the three dots next to the user profile; tap Family Pairing and sync your account to your kid’s via the QR code.