This social media application is from the creators of Musical.ly. As Musical.ly officially went offline in late 2018, TikTok (referred to as Douyin in China) has taken its place providing the user the opportunity to watch musical clips, create short clips up to one minute and add special effects to them.
All the content which was hosted on Musical.ly has become on TikTok. So if your child had a Musical.ly account they will likely now have the capacity to access this content on TikTok.
What exactly is TikTok? It’s a social media app that gives users the opportunity to share 60 second short videos with friends, family or the entire world. Like Twitter-owned Vine and Musical.ly before it, videos shared range from funny sketches to lip-sync videos featuring effects. Currently, the app is available in 34 languages with 150 million active users. Like Musical.ly before it, it is actually most widely used with under 16s.
How does TikTok work? When you download the app, you can instantly begin to see the videos that others have posted on the channel but they are not able to share or post anything until you have set increase your own account.
How you can create a free account – Click on the ‘person’ icon and you can choose to sign on top of a message, phone or existing Google, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account. After you have selected an option, you might be then required to enter your date of birth if is below age 13, the app displays these message: “Sorry, looks like you’re not eligible for Useful Source. But thanks for checking us out!”
Your feed highlights what is happening in your community along with a separate ‘For you’ feed shows tailored recommendation for you. There is also a digital wellbeing element which alerts users that have been on the app for longer than two hours
So why do teens love the TikTok? This is a approach to express themselves and make short-form video clips to gain a following and build a community around their passions. Additionally, it features some great special effects that users can apply to their videos so they are more unique. You can also cross-post the content on other platforms to share it with additional people.
Parents have expressed concern across the inappropriate language of a number of the video posted which may get this less appropriate for younger kids. Also some of the hashtags created by users may point to inappropriate content that may encourage some to self-harm. The platform’s community guidelines prohibit this sort of content, therefore if found or reported it really is blocked or taken down. Additionally there is a dynamic effort from TikTok app moderators to proactively try to find trends of hashtags that may highlight content that is prohibited on the platform to adopt it down promptly.
What should parents be worried about? Once you download the app users can see all of the content without creating your account although they are not able to post, like or share anything until they’ve set up a free account on the app. You can set your account by using your overall Google, Facebook, Instagram account, via email or phone.
Should you put an age that is below the age of 13 you happen to be blocked from attempting to register again. By default all accounts are public so anyone on the app can see what your son or daughter shares. However, only approved followers can send them messages. Users can like or react to a video, follow an account or send messages to each other. There is a risk that strangers should be able to directly contact children on the app.
Does TikTok have any safety measures? Like Facebook and Instagram, it possesses a digital wellbeing element (which can be password protected) which alerts users that have been on the app for over two hours. You can also switch on ‘restricted mode’ to filter out inappropriate content on the app.
Also, you can set an account to be private in order that all videos can only be seen from the creator and no one on the platform. Having a private account, you can approve or deny users and limit incoming messages to followers only.
Please note that even with a private account, your child’s profile photo, username, and bio are still visible to any or all users on the platform. There are two privacy settings for the messenger feature – OFF or FRIENDS – meaning users cannot start messaging another user unless these are mutually following one another on the platform. Also, you happen to be not able to send photographs btrwfg videos through the messenger feature to increase safety. You can manage who can comment, duet and direct message your son or daughter on the app.