Over the past year, the popularity of the app Tik Tok has increased rapidly. Boasted by many social media influencers, some of these top stars have accounts with a staggering amount of followers. One of the top accounts is a 17 year old influencer named Loren Grey, with a massive count of 34.7 million followers.
What Exactly Is ‘Tik Tok’, And How Does It Affect Your Children?
Tik Tok is a social media app, similar to Instagram, that lets users create 15 second videos or less. Many users have used this to create lip-syncing videos, comedy sketches, dancing clips, and many more. Tik Tok also features ‘Duets’, which lets users create videos with other people.
One of the major issues with ‘Tik Tok’ currently is the lack of knowledge of who views your videos. An app like ‘Tik Tok’, which has been downloaded over 188 million downloads in Q1 of 2019 alone, creates the ability for many strangers to view your child’s videos. Investigations conducted on the app has found a large community of adults sending messages, and trying to communicate to underage children. Many accounts have not been removed from the app, and continue to operate today.
Like multiple social media apps, teens try to obtain a huge following, and create more, and more videos for more likes. In a recent blog post released by Trevor Haynes’ of Harvard University’s ‘Science on the News’, the average person in the US spends about 2-4 hours per day on their mobile devices, which on average comes close to 2,600 daily touches on the device. These same studies have found links between smartphone usage, and increased levels of anxiety, depression, and poor sleep quality among users.
What Steps Can I Take To Ensure My Child Is Safe Online?
- Speak to your child about the dangers of online usage. Ensure that they are only in communications with their friends online, and monitor their usage through ‘Screen Time’
- Set up ‘Screen Time’ on your child’s iPhone/iPad. What is ‘Screen Time?’ For iPhone/iPad devices, parents can set up screen time on their child’s devices to limit how often they are on their phones, and to limit which apps can be used at certain times. (Which is also very helpful for bedtime!) To set up, click here for step by step instructions.
- Change the privacy settings on your child’s Tik Tok account. By default, all accounts are public unless the privacy settings are changed. There are two privacy settings on the app:
- Private: only the creator can watch their videos.
- Public: anyone on the app can see their videos..
Actress Reese Witherspoon recently questioned her son on the basics of Tik Tok, why does he find it trendy, and was even apart in creating a dance video with him. Through conversations, and expressing the importance of online safety, we can all come together to teach our children how to express themselves creatively online in a safe and respectful manner.