Chinese video platform TikTok took over Musical.ly, merging the two app powerhouses. It is used mostly to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos, but some kids are using it to advocate for issues and causes and others are participating in TikTok Challenges! Available in over 150 countries, TikTok has over 1 billion users, and has been downloaded over 175 million times in the United States alone. You might like: TikTok and Online Safety: What Parents Should Know
Users must be at least 13 years old to open an account and participate in the the full TikTok experience.
Users under 13 can use the app in a limited way: They can't post videos or comment, and content is curated for them.
Only users 16 and over can livestream and use direct messaging, and only users over 18 can buy, send, or receive virtual gifts.
Videos are recorded as 15-second clips. While much of the content is harmless and fun, there is a lot of inappropriate content on the app. Not all videos are PG and many songs have explicit lyrics.
When signing up for TikTok, users profiles are made public by default. Even with a private account, info in the user's bio is public, including name and username.
Even if a user has a private account, they can watch any other video and follow others with public accounts.
The app allows for private information to be easily shared both inside and outside the app (and encourages users to link to other social platforms). Many young children who don't know better share phone numbers and other personal info within the app.
Tik Tok has excellent safety feature called Family Pairing! To enable it: Go to your Profile page > Tap on three dots icon at the top right corner > Tap on Digital Wellbeing > Tap on Family Pairing. TikTok will ask, “Who is using this TikTok account?”. There will be two options 'Parent' and 'Teen'. Select Parent and tap on 'Continue'.
TikTok and Media Literacy? Heck Yeah!!!
TikTok partnered with the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to develop this "Be Informed" series to help youth know what to do when and if they encounter misinformation online, we HIGHLY recommend you watch and share these with your kids:
Do you know about our award-winning in-school and at-home digital literacy curriculum?
Got digital kids? Then "Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology" is for you!
Guess what? The Cyber Civics curriculum is now available for parents to teach at home too!