Luckily, parental controls and age restrictions help keep a lot of unsavory apps from reaching our children. But sometimes seemingly harmless apps can slip through the cracks and cause problems for you child.
Tik-Tok is such an app. TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat & YouTube in downloads last month. Tik-Tok is a music video based social media app that allows users to record themselves lip syncing to popular songs, add effects, and share them with other users (think snapchat with music). Tik-Tok is actually the second version of the app. The original app went by the name Musical.ly which was acquired by the Chinese company Bytedance in late 2017 and underwent a total rebranding. Musical.ly faced its own series of problems over its 3 year history. While the app is currently rated 16+, Musical.ly used to be rated 12+.
As this app has become increasingly popular we’ve been hearing from concerned parents wanting to know about this app.
So here are 5 Things Parents Need to Know about Tik-Tok
1. Strangers Can Send Private Messages
If your child’s account is public, they may be receiving messages from complete strangers. Talking with your child about interacting with strangers, especially online, is becoming more and more important. Sometimes predators create social media accounts posing as children so that they appear more disarming or approachable. Remind your child that if they do not know them in real life, they should not be talking to them.
2. Suggestive Content Abounds
As with any social media platform, there is always suggestive content mixed into the bag. With Tik-Tok being mostly based on music and video, profanity and suggestive clothing/dancing are the most obvious sources of adult content. But the app also encourages some themes that are much more mature than their 16+ rating would suggest. For example, a popular “challenge” on the app is the ‘#takeitoff challenge’ which encourages users to dance to a specific song while discarding layers of clothes. This is especially concerning to see as young children are encouraged to participate in what amounts to a strip-tease.
3. Tik-Tok is extremely popular
You may be thinking, “I’ve never heard of this app before, it must be pretty unknown.” Actually, the app is incredibly popular and has been flying under-the-radar for quite a while. In the first quarter of 2018 it was downloaded 45.8 million times, to become the number one most downloaded app. While the main user demographic is located in China, it has been gaining traction in the United States over the last six months.
4. Positive- there is a ‘digital wellbeing’ setting
One of the more admirable functions in the app is the ability to turn on the ‘digital wellbeing’ setting. Once turned on, this setting will set time limits on app use, which can help your child moderate the time they spend on their phone. You can also find strategies for keeping your child’s screen time in check in this Kid Matters blog post. This setting also allows a parent to put restrictions on their child’s account. This will block videos that have been flagged as inappropriate. An important point to remember however is that not all inappropriate material is flagged properly; things slip through the cracks.
5. Tik-Tok collects user data
While this is nothing new and all social-media apps participate in this practice, it is worth reminding parents of. This is a quote directly from Tik-Tok’s page on privacy-
“We share your data with our third party service providers we rely on to help you provide you with the Platform. These providers include cloud storage providers and other IT service providers. We also share your information with our business partners, advertisers, analytics and search engine providers…”
Today’s parents have the incredibly difficult task of balancing caution and encouragement as their children grow up in a world of social media and online interaction. Making choices from an informed point of view is always more healthy than from a point of fear. Talk to your kid, ask them about their apps, start a dialogue that puts you both on the same page. For more information or to consult us about your child’s online habits contact us here.
Owner | Child Therapist | LCPC, RPT
Parenting is hard! But you don’t have to do it alone. I work with children and parents to resolve emotional conflict, cultivate healing, and nurture hope.
Parent Matters Blog
Resources to help parents raise safe and informed kids.
Disclaimer: These writings should be considered a matter of personal opinion. They do not reflect professional advice. This medium does not lend itself to the level of detail and intimacy required to provide professional advice. If you are in need of consultation, I highly recommend you seek professional counseling. If at all possible, you should seek a reliable referral from a trusted source.
The internet can be tricky for parents. How much time do you allow your children to spend on it, what the rules are in place around the usage of devices, choosing apps, etc.
Can you please stop doing that…… When our kids are stuck managing emotions that may feel too big and overwhelming, we aren’t always sure the best way to respond. Depending who you ask, the answer may vary. Some may advise you to ignore the behavior, others may tell...
Parents face new challenges each day with our children and we are always searching for answers to help us face hard to answer questions, behaviors that may seem like over reactions and as well as practical solutions to setting limits and boundaries from books, other...
3 Ways to Prep for Summer Break Summer break is coming and your kid's schedules are about to change. It’s a wonderful time of year but it can also be ridden with big feelings around transitions. As a parent or 3, I find it important to prepare for transitions with my...
Don’t Parent Alone!
Sign up for our FREE Newsletter: “Parent Matters.”
Receive our best parenting advice right to your inbox. Our goal is to help parents raise safe and informed children.
We help anxious kids and frustrated parents. We serve Hinsdale & the Western Suburbs of Chicago.
Made with ♥︎ in Hinsdale, Illinois for Chicago
Built By Brand Your Practice.
© 2019 Kid Matters Counseling, P.C.
Kid Matters Counseling, P.C. DISCLAIMER: This website and blog are for informational, educational and general discussion purposes only. It is understood that no guarantee or warranty arises from the information provided, discussed or commented upon in this. website and blog nor does it constitute legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. Access to this website and blog is voluntary and at the sole risk of the user. If you think that you have a medical emergency (including clinical), call your doctor or 911 immediately. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. While the information contained within this website and blog is periodically updated, no guarantee is given that the information provided is correct, complete, and/or up-to-date.