What Is TikTok?
TikTok is the newest social media app to gain a massive following. Owned by China-based company ByteDance and other U.S. based companies, TikTok has amassed hundreds of millions of users all around the world. Users post a short video of up to either 15 seconds or 60 seconds. On the app, TikTok users can easily view trending hashtags that they may want to participate in. They can also “duet” other videos by using the sound and video and recording a video next to it. The app is available on major devices through the Google Play and App Store.
TikTok has been in the news recently because of concern over the privacy of users’ data, especially among young users. To help protect children’s data along with their use of the platform, they offer several parental controls and settings.
TikTok Parental Controls
TikTok is extremely popular among Generation Z. Some of its most popular creators like Charli D’Amelio are younger than 17. Many kids migrated to TikTok to avoid the sight of their parents on the other popular apps like Facebook and Instagram. Certain features of TikTok, like the “For You” page, are full of content by users that the account doesn’t follow.
TikTok uses an algorithm to make customize posts that appear in the For You page target toward the user’s interests. Sometimes, these posts can be semi-explicit, contain profanities, or use songs that a parent may not want their child to be listening to. Because of some of these dangers of TikTok, it’s important for parents to understand the parental controls that the app offers.
Make Their TikTok Account Private
Like other apps, TikTok allows users to set their account to private so that only users that are following them can see their posts. This is a great option for parents because it keeps strangers from seeing their child’s TikTok videos, unless they approve them to follow the account. To make the account private, tap the three-dot icon in the top right corner and then select Privacy. Now click the switch next to Private account to turn it on.
One potential negative for making an account private is that its posts will not appear on the “For You Page.” This will prevent the account from going “viral,” which could be a disappointment for some kids who are looking to get famous on the app. However, their safety should be the first priority.
Family Pairing is a feature on TikTok that allows a parent to make an account and link it to the child’s account. First, download TikTok on both phones and make an account for the parent and the child if they do not already have one. On each phone, tap the three-dot icon to go to settings and select Family Pairing. Now, the parent can sync their phone to the child’s using the QR code.
In the Family Pairing settings, parents will be able to set time limits for app use, limit mature content, and restrict who can send direct messages to the account. Remember, a child can make another account using a different phone number or email address, so it is important to make sure that this is the only account that they are using so that they do not find a way around the restrictions.
Screen Time Management
TikTok does care about the digital wellbeing of its users. With Screen Time Management, users of all ages can limit how much time they spend on the app. This is good to prevent any user from getting addicts to this social media platform. To set this, click on the three vertical dots icon on the profile → Digital Wellbeing → Screen Time Management → Select your time limit → Press Turn on Screen Time Management.
Like most platforms, TikTok allows users to limit inappropriate content from appearing on their feeds. On TikTok, this can be done by using Restricted Mode. To set this, click on the three vertical dots icon on the profile → Digital Wellbeing → Restricted Mode → Press Turn on Restricted Mode.
This isn’t exactly a parental control feature, but it is a way to protect your child’s account from being hacked or accessed unauthorized. Enabling this provides their account with an extra layer of security in case someone gets their hands on their login information. This can be set-up by going to the three vertical dots icon on the profile → Tap on Security → Click on 2-step verification and follow the prompts.
Keeping Kids Safe on TikTok
TikTok is an extremely popular app among kids right now. Using Family Pairing, parents can change settings to make sure that their child is safe on the app. Other settings can be managed on the specific device they are using like the Screen Time settings on iOS devices. Utilizing these settings is very important for parents whose kids are using the app.