My child wants a TikTok account. What should I know?

 

It’s easy to understand the appeal of TikTok–the lip syncing and video features can be quite hilarious. While it is possible to make an account private where only those invited by your child can view your child’s videos, the issue with TikTok (formerly Musical.ly) is that your child will automatically see videos posted by anyone else in the For You and Search sections.  

For You features trending videos, over which you have zero control. Before giving your child the green light, you might spend a few minutes reviewing what’s posted here. We did, and found many videos with profanity, some that were outrightly funny, and many that just seemed plain dumb. To get a more in-depth sense of TikTok, we recommend reading this article, “Porn is Not the Worst Thing on Musical.ly”.

If you’re looking for ways to deter your child, you can share that the Terms of Service for TikTok state that “children must be a minimum of 12 years of age.” If you’re inclined to grant your child permission to use TikTok, consider:

  1. Using our Family Agreement to establish guidelines for appropriate use
    • Discuss who they’re allowed to follow and what’s appropriate to post
    • Ask your child to talk about the content they view and their opinion of it. Feel free to share yours too :).
    • Discuss the social media dynamics
      • Liking and following:
        • how will they feel if they don’t get the response they were hoping for?
        • How does it feel to feel vulnerable?
      • Comments: they can be so easy to misconstrue. Will they come to you when something happens?
  2. Making your child’s account private
    • Discuss your concerns about strangers 
    • See Our Guide to TikTok for further instructions
  3. Placing time limits
    • In the app itself, you can set time limits, although the minimum time limit is 40 minutes
    • If you want to ease into it and see how it goes, you can set shorter limits using Apple’s Screen Time controls
      • Your child’s phone must
  4. How you will monitor usage
    • We recommend downloading the app on your phone and logging in as your child
    • Setting up Screen Time, so you can see how much time your child is spending on the app (See Our Complete Guide to iOS 12)

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