What It Is:
Tik Tok (previously Musical.ly) is a free social media app designed for creating and sharing short music videos. Users film videos of themselves lip-syncing or acting out comedy sketches, up to 15 seconds long, and can choose from a database of songs, effects, or sound bites. You can do a “duet” with someone by replying to their video, which creates a split-screen diptych, which feeds into an endless chain of reactions. Users can also upload their own sounds, so that it’s possible to lip-sync to someone else’s original video.
In September, Tik Tok far surpassed Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat in monthly installs in the App Store. And last July (2018), it had 500 million global monthly users.
The New York Times has praised TikTok as “the only truly pleasant social network in existence” for its ad-free, news-free interface and The Verge has described it as the “joyful, spiritual successor to Vine.”
What Parents Need To Know:
Like many apps, when signing up on TikTok, user profiles are made ‘public’ by default. This means anyone can view videos the user uploads, send direct messages to them and access their location information. This makes users vulnerable to predators and strangers trying to contact them.
The app is also recommended for users to be aged 13 and up due to the mature content of the app. The lyrics, the dance moves and the provocative clothing can all be considered mature content.
Like any social media app, Tik Tok can be a platform for cyber bullying, hate speech and sexual predators.
Project B3’s Tips and Suggestions:
Tik Tok CAN be a fun app! If your age-appropriate teen has it and uses it, monitor their use by downloading the app yourself. Then:
- Make sure they disable their “Share location” settings
- Monitor your teens usage.
- Be sure they are only sharing video content with friends and people that they know.
- Discuss what is appropriate and not appropriate for them to share.
- Like all social media apps, check up on your child’s settings frequently. Make sure all privacy settings are set appropriately for their age and according your home’s set rules.