TikTok is a social media app where a variety of user-generated videos are shared.
It is one of the most popular and fastest-growing social media platforms. The content shared can include a wide range of viral challenges, songs, dances, pranks, jokes, and other topics with durations from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. The app encourages performance to get its users to showcase their talent, but it’s possible for users to only follow content creators and not share posts of themselves.
TikTok has 2 main feed sections. The default is “For You”, which displays recommended videos (including those from users you don’t follow) based on factors such as user interactions, video information, and device/account settings. The other feed is “Following”, which features content from accounts the user has chosen to follow. TikTok’s algorithm is influenced by both positive and negative user interactions such as liking or sharing videos, posting a comment, following an account, and time spent watching videos.
Predators will use flattery and compliments to get close to children.
- Communication may start off with innocent comments, but predators will continuously push boundaries to pressure youth, attempt to meet in person, or move communication to more private channels.
- There are numerous reports about older men using the private message feature to connect with children.
TikTok’s “Duet” feature allows a user to post a side-by-side video with another user—for example, this is often used for lip-synching or dancing alongside them in a new clip.
- Predators can use “Duets” to send inappropriate content and explicit messages to youth.
- Only public accounts are allowed to Duet with others. Privacy settings enable users to choose if everyone or just friends can Duet with their videos. Duet can also be turned off before posting a video.
Content encouraging cyberbullying, suicidal ideation, and self-harm is common on the platform, which can have negative long-term effects on children’s mental health.
- Recent studies reveal links to depression, anxiety, and stress stemming from an addiction to TikTok.
- Children may feel pressured to create risky content chasing popularity, leading to addiction.
“TikTok Live” allows creators to livestream, which may be screenshot or recorded by other users.
- Youth should be aware of privacy threats and never give out identifying information such as their name, date of birth, home address, school, or phone number.
- Videos with overtly sexual content, graphic violence, suicidal ideation, self-harm, drugs/alcohol, gang-related content, profanity, hate speech, and other inappropriate content may show up in a user’s feed.
We recommend parents supervising their children’s activity and setting children’s TikTok accounts to private. Parents can utilize Restricted Mode to filter content or enable Family Safety Mode to pair their account with their child’s to control their account settings. Parents can also learn how to set parental controls on TikTok through the parental control app Bark. Children should understand the risks of social media and dangers of communicating online. We encourage and support parents having open, ongoing conversations with their children about their online activity—especially if you notice any behavior changes.
Want To Learn More?
For more information about TikTok, check out Common Sense Media’s “Parents’ Ultimate Guide to TikTok” and other relevant articles and videos included in the sources listed below.