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What is TikTok?

TikTok is an app that allows people to view, create and share short videos with friends, family, or the entire world. Although used by lots of adults of all ages, the app is especially popular with teens and young adults, who enjoy using its tools to combine video, popular songs, and graphics into fun sketches, creative shorts and viral videos.

Is TikTok safe for kids?

As with any social media app, a positive experience on TikTok ultimately depends on how it is used. TikTok has built-in safety and privacy features that vary based on the user’s age. For example, kids under 13 access a different app experience called TikTok for Younger Users, which offers a curated feed of age-appropriate content. Teens 13-15 have private accounts by default and can’t live stream or send direct messages.

Are TikTok accounts public or private?

For people under 16, TikTok accounts are automatically set to private. For people over 16, TikTok accounts are automatically set to public, but everyone has the option to set their profiles — and any TikToks they create — to private.

What are TikTok challenges?

Activities, dances — really anything that can go viral and inspire others to imitate the idea and spread it further. Participating in challenges can make people feel part of the broader TikTok community — say, by learning the latest dance and sharing their version of it — but people should exercise caution when participating in challenges, especially ones that may require a special skill. Talk to your kids about dangerous viral internet challenges and the peer pressure to participate.

Parents ask: How can I keep my kids safe?

Start by talking with your teen about how they use TikTok. Make sure they understand that the videos and comments they post affect their or others’ reputations and that they should never post anything that jeopardizes their privacy and security. Make sure your teen knows how to block anyone who bullies, threatens, or harasses them, or if they don’t want that person to see their content or comment on their videos.

TikTok offers Family Pairing, which allows parents and guardians to pair their TikTok account with their teenager’s account to guide their teen’s use of the app. Parents can decide whether their child can search for content, users, songs or hashtags, set daily screen time (40 to 120 minutes a day), set the account to public or private, limit who can comment on their videos, turn off direct messaging and enable Restricted Mode,
which “can limit content that may not be appropriate for some audiences.”

More ways to stay safe

Moderation and abuse reporting. To enforce its Community Guidelines, TikTok uses a combination of policies and human- and machine-based moderation practices to handle content that may violate its guidelines. To report a comment: Press and hold on the comment and select Report. To report an inappropriate video, tap the Share arrow and choose Report. Report a profile by going to the profile, tapping on the three dots and selecting Report.

Passwords and other personal information. Talk with your kids about the importance of keeping passwords and other personal information private. Friends can become ex-friends and use their account in mean or inappropriate ways. You’ll find password tips at ConnectSafely.org/passwords.

Time management and life balance. Whether it’s TikTok or any other app, teens (and adults too) need to put down their phones and interact with others in person. No app should ever keep you or your teen from getting exercise, doing chores, work or anything else that keeps us healthy, happy, and productive. If you need a nudge,
use the time management features in the TikTok app or Apple and Android phones.

A note about parental controls. Parental controls have their place,but sometimes conversations can accomplish even more. For general advice on parental controls, including suggestions for talking about them with your kids, visit ConnectSafely.org/controls. Parents can enable Restricted Mode to limit the appearance of content that may not be appropriate for all ages.


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