TikTok and Online Safety: What Parents Should Know


If you’re the parent of a tween or teen, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the wildly popular social media app TikTok, a video-sharing platform where users can create, watch and share homemade videos shot on their phones. The app has become a hub for many teens who enjoy it as an entertaining, creative outlet, and the hours of fun it can provide draws in users from all over the world.


With users as young as 10 years old participating in the social world of TikTok (all the way up to adults in their 40s and 50s), it’s important for parents to understand the risks associated with the app and the safety implications it could have on their children. All social media platforms come with some level of risk, and the same is true for TikTok. Here are the age restrictions according to TikTok’s official guidelines:


  • The official age requirement to use TikTok is 13 years old.

  • Users between the ages of 13 and 15 have their accounts set to private by default. This prohibits them from utilizing the private messaging feature and only allows friends to comment on their videos.

  • Only users over the age of 16 can record live videos (also known as a “Livestream”) or use the private messaging feature.

  • Buying, sending, or receiving virtual gifts is restricted to users 18 and older.


Even with these restrictions in place, the potential for online threats still exists. As with any social media platform, the possibility of contact with strangers runs high—given the interactive nature of the TikTok community, this is especially true for TikTok. Other risks include the potential for exposure to elicit content, cyberbullying, and general data privacy concerns.


While these risks certainly shouldn’t be ignored, there are several parental controls that can be activated to help mitigate them. Not only that, but being proactive about discussing internet safety with your children (and as a family) might be one of the best ways you can keep your child safe online. To learn what parental controls are available on TikTok and how to set them up, check out this in-depth guide by Panda Security to walk you through each step. Having a safe experience on TikTok is absolutely possible, as long as you’re equipped with the right tools and knowledge!


What is TikTok?


TikTok is a video-sharing platform where users can watch, create and share videos shot on cell phones. The content found on TikTok runs the gamut from lip-syncing and comedic dancing to educational videos on topics like health or politics. The app provides an interactive world of video-based content where users can connect with each other. But as the TikTok craze continues to spread worldwide, many parents wonder about the safety implications of the app their kids can’t get enough of, particularly if their kids are on the younger side.


TikTok’s official age requirement is 13 years old. Users between the age of 13 and 15 have their account set to private by default, which prohibits them from private messaging and only allows friends to comment on their videos. Only users over the age of 16 can record live videos or use the private messaging feature.

The community associated with the world of TikTok makes it particularly interactive and engaging for users. In addition to creating their own videos, users can follow other creators on the app and engage with their creations through likes, comments, and messages.