What is TikTok?
TikTok is a social network for sharing user-generated videos, mostly of people lip-syncing to popular songs. It was originally called musical.ly (pronounced MU-zik-lee). Users can create and upload their own videos where they lip-synch, sing, dance, or just talk. You can also browse and interact with other users' content, which covers a wide range of topics, songs and styles. These videos can be grouped by hashtags, which often correspond to challenges or memes.
What age is TikTok recommended for?
TikTok requires that users be at least 13 years old to use the app. Anyone under the age of 18 must have approval of a parent or guardian -- but there are plenty of young teen users. If your younger kid or teen wants to use the app, the account should belong to an adult who can monitor what younger users are browsing and sharing. There's also the section of the app mentioned above that's meant for kids under 13 that restricts access to mature content and comments, but since entering a false birthdate is easy, it's still best for older teens.
How safe is TikTok?
Using any social network can be risky, but it's possible for kids to safely use the app with adult supervision (and a private account). When you sign up for TikTok, your account is public by default, meaning anyone can see your videos, send you direct messages and use your location information. Parents should make sure to turn on all privacy settings for accounts kids are using so only people you know can interact with your videos or message you on the app. That means either opting for a private account or changing the settings for comments, duets, reactions and messages to "Friends" instead of "Everyone." You can also turn those features off completely.
How can I monitor my kid's activity on TikTok?
Other than Restricted Mode, there's no way to filter out content on TikTok, so parents are encouraged to share an account with kids under the age of 13. This will let you keep an eye on what your kid is viewing and posting. Parents of older kids who are more resistant to monitoring can ask about their favourite video creators and get to know their videos (with or without your kid). Also, take the time to regularly look at the most popular songs, videos, memes and challenges.