Your kids are on TikTok and you wonder if it’s safe, should there be constraints, what is it, and how can you help your children navigate this platform responsibly. A better understanding of what TikTok is, the potential risks associated with the platform, and a few recommended parental guidelines for TikTok use by your children is essential in today’s social media environment.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a popular social media platform that allows users to create and share short videos. It has become increasingly popular among children and teens. A Pew Research study suggests 67 percent of teens use TikTok with 16 percent of those using it saying they use it “constantly.”
Be Safe from Inappropriate Content
One of the main risks associated with TikTok is the potential for children to be exposed to inappropriate content. This can include videos containing violence, sexual content, or hate speech. According to one study 56 percent of 11 to 16 year olds have seen explicit material online. One in ten children ages 8 to 11 have said they have seen “something nasty or worrying online.”
Parents can help to protect their children by setting up privacy settings on their child’s account and monitoring their activity on the platform. It’s also important to talk to your child about what they should do if they come across content that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe. They should know how to report inappropriate content or block other users who they don’t want to see their content.
Be Aware of Online Predators
Another risk associated with TikTok is the potential for children to be targeted by online predators. Parents should teach their children about online safety and the importance of keeping their personal information private. Children should be taught not to share personal information, such as their name, address, or phone number, with strangers online. They should also be taught not to accept friend requests from people they don’t know in real life.
Cyberbullying is also a concern on TikTok, as with any social media platform, and parents should teach their children how to respond if they are bullied online. Children should be encouraged to speak up and tell a trusted adult if they are bullied. Parents should also teach their children about the importance of being kind to others online and not participating in cyberbullying themselves.
Understand Behavior Consequences
It is also important for parents to teach their children about the potential consequences of their online behavior. Children should be taught that what they post online can have real-life consequences. They should think carefully about the content they share. They should be made aware that once something is posted online, it can be difficult to take it back and it could be seen by many people.
One resource to help children better understand consent is the Familius title Want a Hug: Consent and Boundaries for Kids by trauma specialist Christine Babinec.
Set Clear Guidelines
Finally, parents should set guidelines for how much time their children can spend on TikTok. Children should be taught the importance of balancing their time online with other activities such as schoolwork, sports, and spending time with friends and family. Parents can also use the built-in screen time management features to set limits on the amount of time their child spends on the app.
TikTok can be a fun and entertaining way for children to express themselves and connect with others, but it is important for parents to be aware of the potential risks associated with the platform and to set parental guidelines for TikTok By teaching your children about online safety and setting guidelines for their use of the platform, you can help to ensure that your children use TikTok safely and responsibly. Remember to always have open communication with your child about their online activity and address any concerns that may arise.
Familius, LLC is a global media company that publishes books, articles, videos, and other media to help families be happy.