TikTok is one of the most popular apps among teenagers. It is a platform for creative short videos of all kinds.
TikTok is a social media platform and video app in one: users can choose from a colorful collection of well-known pop songs, popular audios and quotes, e.g. from movies. To do this, they “sing” or “speak” playback and film their choreography within the app with their smartphone. But also completely self-created short videos are implemented. Most videos are only 15 or 60 seconds long. Certain videos create real hype, are imitated, or continue in the spirit of a trend or challenge.
TikToker videos, whose account is public, can be viewed and commented on via a browser without having to be logged into the app. However, to create videos yourself, an account is required.
TikTok is releasing more and more features, such as filming yourself in duet with other users, continuing others’ clips (Stitch), or livestreaming. With TikTok Now, spontaneous videos can be created once a day – similar to BeReal – can be published. Companies also use the platform to advertise via it.
Young people like to use TikTok for exchanges with each other. But the most important thing for them is to have fun with it and share the coolest videos with others. ThroughTikTok, young users are entertained, look for role models to follow, portray themselves, and hope for positive feedback from others.
TikTok is also a great platform to live out your creativity. The barrier to creating and sharing your own video is low: there are plenty of video effects in the app and a music library with popular songs that can be used right away.
Children and young people appreciate the fact that TikTok is less about perfection and professionalism than Instagram. Instagram or YouTube but rather that creativity and fun are in the foreground. The videos are closer to everyday life and the TikTokers are perceived as more approachable. Especially girls from the age of 10 or 11 are enthusiastic about TikTok. As young people get older (14 or 15 and up), the app doesn’t seem as exciting.
There are a number of things you and your child should consider before using the app:
The Chinese operator ByteDance is aware of the danger of disturbing and unwanted content and is gradually adjusting its security settings. For example, a minimum age (16) was introduced for sending direct messages.
People who create and publish TikToks themselves have been able to “Filter All Comments” and share them individually for some time. Those who want to comment on the TikToks of others will be asked beforehand if this comment should really be published. There is also a reference to the community guidelines that prohibit inappropriate language and hate speech.
In the app, after registration, a red dot refers to the settings. In the safety center of the TikTok website, parents can read tips.
Accompanied mode allows parents to set specific preferences for a family member. For example, you can specify who can send your child messages and how long they can watch videos. In general, user accounts can be reported and/or blocked and there is a filter for offensive comments. However, it is questionable whether it actually works. Algorithms can’t properly contextualize and may filter out more than necessary or “overlook” comments.
TikTok has come under criticism for its moderation rules, which apparently heavily control which videos users can see.
If there is to be an account at some point, set it up together and try out the first steps together. Enter the correct year of birth so that TikTok ‘s parental control settings can take effect automatically.
Talk to your child about the potential dangers. It is especially important to pay attention to privacy and not reveal too much about yourself in the videos. More control is possible in private mode. This way, communication is possible only with friends and your child keeps track of who can see the videos. Reassure your child that he or she can turn to you at any time should he or she receive insults or be harassed. Also, show him how to block and report inappropriate content. To better protect your own privacy and that of others, a video does not necessarily always have to show your face. With the help of emoji stickers or other creative solutions, this is possible.