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Parental Guide to TikTok

Category: Social Media
Official Age Limit: 13 years
Zoe rating: 11 years

TikTok is a social media where you can watch and share short videos with friends and other users with around 500 million active users worldwide. Although the minimum age is 13, anyone can download it as there is no proper way to verify age. The service is particularly known for dance videos, trends and “challenges” that go viral. It is popular among children and young people, but you can easily come across content that is not suitable for the target group.

Parental Guide to TikTok

Limit Notifications

“Nudging” is a method that social media use to get you to view content on their services. A large part of social media’s “nudging” takes place in the form of notifications. To protect yourself and your children from continuous distractions and disturbances, it is a good idea to limit or completely remove notifications from social media like TikTok. Under the phone’s settings, you can search for the App’s general settings and remove notifications or choose how they are displayed. At a minimum, you should remove notifications when the phone is locked.

Privacy settings on TikTok

It is important to set privacy and security settings on all social media, regardless of how and how often you use them. TikTok has 3 essential settings that you must at least decide on:

Private profile
Under settings and privacy, you can set how public your profile should be. Here you can e.g. choose whether you want a private profile, whether TikTok can suggest your profile to others, whether other Tiktok users can download your videos, whether they can send you comments on your videos, and who can send a friend request. Here you can also set “history of profile views” so that others cannot see your visit to their profile, who can comment on your videos, who can send direct messages and much more.
Under settings and privacy, you can turn location services on and off. The location function on TikTok is used so that TikTok can suggest relevant material from the area where you are or that you can “tag” the material you share with a location. We generally recommend turning off location services for children. Here it is important to talk to your child about what it might mean that others can see where you are. It is important that the child or young person understands why there may be disadvantages to sharing their location. Remember that a direct ban can potentially lead to the child or young person finding it extra interesting and therefore turning it on.
Account proposal
Account Suggestion is a feature that can help connect you with people who have TikTok but are not friends with on TikTok. If you have it turned on, your user will be shown under the Account suggestions function if, for example, you are friends on Facebook, have mutual friends on TikTok, or you have a person’s phone number in your contacts on your mobile,
For in-depth guidance on the privacy settings, you can get further information from Save the Children here:

Conversation about TikTok

Here are some guidelines to help you start the conversation:

Be open and available: Create a safe and open environment where your child feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. Show interest in their experiences and be responsive to their perspective.
Be prepared: Before talking to your child about TikTok, it’s important that you yourself have a basic understanding of the platform and its features.
Highlight Pros and Cons: Review both the positives and negatives of TikTok. Discuss the benefits of being able to sing along, do a duet with a friend, and have fun creating something. Discuss that both adults and children use the app and not all material on TikTok is for them and that they can always talk to you if they experience something unpleasant.
Online security and privacy: Focus on the importance of protecting personal information and being aware of security settings. Advise your child to avoid sharing photos and videos that are not allowed to be shared and to be careful about accepting friend requests from strangers.
Digital education and respectful behavior: Talk to your child about the importance of maintaining healthy behavior. Explain that it is important to treat others online with respect, avoid bullying, and think about what they share before sending it.
Set boundaries and rules: Discuss and set clear boundaries for how and when your child can use TikTok. This may include times when one does not send and reply to messages, and an agreement to ask permission before creating new accounts or sharing certain content.
Maintain ongoing dialogue: Keep the conversation ongoing and open and show interest in the content they receive and share. As technology and the online landscape evolves, new challenges or concerns may arise that you must address together.

Remember that it is important to adapt the conversation to your child’s age and maturity level. Be responsive to their concerns and questions and make sure they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences with you. For example, ask about

  • What do you use TikTok for?
  • What are the latest trends and challenges?
  • When can you go live?
  • What is a duet and have you done duets with your friends?

If you want to learn more about TikTok for dialogue with your children, you can read about, among other things, duets, live streaming and challenges here: the Children has created a good guide for deleting content on TikTok and seeking help to deal with unpleasant experiences. Follow the link to the first aid box

Category: Social Media
In short, a social media is a platform where people can talk or write together via the web and mobile. Communication takes place both ways and not just one way, as it does in newspapers or serials, for example.

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