With isolation, quarantine and stay home restrictions, interest in creative video app TikTok has skyrocketed and become an app for anyone and everyone, including tradies, parents, children, teenagers, military personal, emergency services and even celebrities.
Device use is also now a necessary part of every school-age child across the globe, meaning social media agreements and safety measures have needed to adapt for the times.
So, here are 3 things that you should know about TikTok so that you can make an educated choice about whether you allow your child to use this app and to help keep your children safe if you do!
Swearing and Questionable Content
No judgement here… just making sure that you realise that TikTok is a 13+ app that is not monitored for swearing or lewd themes.
…I would say unless they go really overboard, but I actually don’t believe that to be the case from what I’ve seen.
There has always been adult interest in TikTok and there has always been a level of acceptance that swearing and content for shock value is almost necessary to gain likes and followers…
However, something I have noticed is that more and more parents are making videos with their young children involved and some of the language is quite harsh and the themes are often questionable.
I’m not talking toilet jokes or being a bit cheeky. I’m talking about really quite confronting subjects for a child. …words that would make them need to ask questions.
Yes, I have heard that children will hear those words at school and I had that belief system too when my older children were young.
(..and as a mother of young adults I love to muck around and say things to shock them and that will make them laugh)
However, second round of children and having a young child in our home, I’m not feeling that parents need to contribute to our little children’s low bar of acceptance that harsh words are a part of everyday life.
So, where ever you are at in your journey of what you want your child to be exposed to, it is important for you to know that TikTok hosts a lot of voiceovers that you may want to listen to and explore before you let your child free with the app.
As mentioned, there is a current spike in celebrity activity on TikTok and a lot of our favourites are opening accounts to get in on the action.
This increase of course lends itself to people making fake accounts and using them to exploit others.
You can look for the verification tick on the accounts to make sure it is really your favourite celeb…
…but it’s also still advisable to ensure your child doesn’t engage in private conversations with celebrity accounts as fake profiles have been known to be used to groom children in the past.
One of the ways for people to raise their profile on TikTok is to participate in the “challenges” the app hosts.
If you scan through the home page of top posts, you will notice that you will see the same song, dance or skit come up time and time again.
These are the popular “challenges” where the hashtag, song or voice over that is used for the video will be searched for by others and will therefore mean that more people will see your post.
The trick is to get people to like your post so it stays visible and to gain followers so that more options open up on your TikTok account such as being able to LIVE Stream, which requires you to have a significant number of followers.
It is important to talk to your child about the personal information they may be required to add when participating in these challenges as some ask for details such as age and location.
….and coupled with another challenge or questions asked of them, they may be giving away too much.
To see the challenges your child is participating in have a look at the hashtags, voiceover or song they are using.
Special note: it is actually cool to participate in the challenge putting your own swing on it. So, rather than saying your mother’s maiden name, they could just point to their mum in the video or put text up of a whole heap of *****. …get what I’m sayin’? haha